Monday, April 19, 2010

The Danger of Looking Backwards


Ramban (Nachmanides, 1194 - 1270) referred to the warning given to Lot by the angels who carried out the destruction of Sodom: "Do not look behind you". Nevertheless, Lot's wife Irit (the Midrash - "Sefer Seder HaDorot" - mentions her name) did turn around and, as a punishment, turned into a pillar of salt.

The Ramban says that we should never underestimate this warning. Not even in the future. Rashi comments that Lot sinned with the people of Sodom and that only in the merit of Avraham, he is being saved. Thus, Lot has no right to turn around and witness the actual destruction.

The following question comes up:
What kind of an impact would it have on Lot when he witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha ? Wouldn't he be so afraid that he only serves G - d out of terrible fear ? Fear that by not keeping the Mitzvot, he may be punished and die as well.

G - d's intention is that we serve Him by using our "Free Will". He doesn't want to be a dictator but provided humankind with a "Free Will" in order to decide what we should do. Serve G - d our Creator and get closer to him or do the opposite. We are no robots and a Tikun (soul rectification) is not taking place too much when a person acts out of fear or automatically. The true intention is to fulfill the Mitzvot with love and by using one's own will.


"Strive for Truth"
by Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler


According to Jewish (Talmudic) thought, Sodom and Gomorrha were not destroyed because immoral sexual behaviour but the inhabitants were involved in other sins and therefore G – d caused the destruction of the two cities.

What does actually happen when we look back ? Don't we develop at the moment a longing for our past ? I didn't behave according to G – d's rules and, from now on, try to make it better. However, at the very moment I turn around, I actually show that I still miss my (sinful and imperfect) past.

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