Today is July 23, 2021 /

Temple Israel

Temple Israel

Building Community Since 1954
A Progressive Conservative Synagogue Serving Central Florida

(407) 647-3055 |
50 S. Moss Rd., Winter Springs, FL 32708

Vayera Torah Introduction 5772

Where to begin? Abraham’s fabled hospitality? The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? The miracle of Isaac’s birth? The fight between wives and the expulsion of Ishmael? The Akeidah, the binding and near slaughter of Isaac? None of those, well not right now at least.

Think instead about the small tragedy that unfolds after the destruction of the cities of the plain. Lot has escaped with just his two unmarried daughters and fled into the hills. There, the girls mistakenly assume that they three are the only survivors of a catastrophe that must have consumed the whole world. In order to maintain life, they get their father drunk and rape him in his stupor. The eldest goes the first night and the younger goes the second. The two sire two of the neighboring clans to Israel, the Moabites and Ammonites.

Oddly enough, our Midrash tries to find good in each of them. For the eldest they say look at how eager she was to try and bring life back to the world and for the youngest they praise her reluctance to go along with such an incestuous plan. It is easy and right to condemn their foolish scheme and our tradition does, but when we encounter what we see as folly, we must try to recognize the good that the people are trying to accomplish. We will have much more success in persuading them to change direction if we can show them that their goal is better achieved elsewhere.