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Torah Insights for the Younger Tzadikim
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Vayera 5761
November 12 - 18, 2000by Reb Yosef

God's Mercy - His Obvious Choice

In Parashat Vayera, we are told that the five cities around Sodom and Gomorah are filled with evil people.  But Avraham Avinu (our Father Abraham) thinks that there are righteous people there and, because of that, the cities should not be destroyed.  Avraham had a special relationship with Hashem and, as such, bargains for the lives of all those who are about to be destroyed. 

23. Abraham came forward and said, "Will You also stamp out the righteous along with the wicked?:

24. What if there should be fifty righteous people in the midst of the city? Would You still stamp it out rather than spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it?:

25. It would be sacrilege to You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the righteous along with the wicked; so the righteous will be like the wicked. It would be sacrilege to You! Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?":

26. And Hashem said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous people in the midst of the city, then I would spare the entire place on their account.":

27. Abraham responded and said, "Behold, now, I desired to speak to my Lord although I am but dust and ash: 

28. What if the fifty righteous people should lack five? Would You destroy the entire city because of the five?" And He said, "I will not destroy if I find there forty-five.":

29. He further continued to speak to Him and he said, "What if forty would be found there?" And He said, "I will not act on account of the forty.":

30. And he said, "Let not my Lord be annoyed and I will speak - What if thirty would be found there?" And He said, "I will not act if I find there thirty.":

31. So he said, "Behold, now, I desired to speak to my Lord - What if twenty would be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy on account of the twenty.":

32. So he said, "Let not my Lord be annoyed and I will speak but this once - What if ten would be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy on account of the ten.":

33. Hashem departed when He had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place:

The important lesson in this part of the Torah is that God was willing to spare many evil people for the sake of a few righteous people. Avraham Avinu asked for fifty to be saved.  Then he asked for forty-five and so on until he reached ten.  And we can see that God would have spared the cities if even ten righteous men lived there.  From this, we can all see that God has tremendous mercy and love for His people.  As we learn, and can see in this example, we only need to ask Hashem to forgive us and that forgiveness will be there because this is what God most wants because He loves us - we are His children and He is our Father.

________

Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

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