Midreshet Amit


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The Fight For Lives

By: Liel Gutman


In this week's Parsha, Parshat Vayera, Avraham is put through multiple tests. One of the most famous tests is עקידת יצחק, but a lesser known test set up by G-d is the opportunity to fight for Sodom. When G-d decides that he wants to destroy the city of Sodom, he says “ארדה-נא ואראה” meaning that he will go down to Sodom and see. This gave Avraham the opportunity to try to appeal to G-d about the importance of life to save the people rather than to destroy them. The Zohar contrasts Noach with Avraham, “and Noach held his peace and said naught, neither did he intercede. Whereas Abraham, as soon as the Holy One blessed be He said to him, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see…Immediately, as it is stated, “and Avraham drew near and said: Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”

But what is Avraham arguing for? Who is he trying to intercede on their behalf? According to the passukim, Avraham asks G-d two things: why destroy the city if there are righteous people there and why destroy the righteous people and not just the wicked? The answer is that Avraham wanted to save all people because of the righteous. Rabbi David Ben Shmuel HaLevi quotes, “It is only right that you do not destroy the righteous with the wicked, since that is but justice and requires no prayer. My prayer is only directed at beseeching You to deliver the whole place for the sake of the righteous. But if my prayer is of no avail, then at least, why should You kill the righteous since this is not a question of seeking a special favor but is only justice.” As expected, Avraham passed the test and paved the way for the Jewish people’s fight for justice for all people.

As Jews, we have the mitzvah of ״בן אדם לחברו״ but this isn’t exclusive between Jews, rather it’s between any individual. Avraham teaches us to demand justice, even from G-d. Israel itself is such a small country, but it continuously goes out of its way to save and help any other country, even enemies in times of need. This was modeled for us by Avraham in this week's Parsha and it’s a trait that I hope to pursue in my personal life as well.