‘God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow…’
The commentators question why God remembered Abraham and saved Lot. Surely the verse should read, ‘God remembered Lot’. What connection does Abraham have to this?
The Midrash explains why Lot merited being saved from Sodom. When Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt, Abraham asked his wife to tell people she was his sister, because he was afraid they might kill him.
Lot could have informed the Egyptians of the true nature of their relationship, meaning Abraham would be killed and Lot could marry off Sarah to make a lot of money.
But he did not do that, and because of that he was saved from Sodom.
But there are more questions. The Torah records how Lot risked his own life to be hospitable to guests in Sodom, which, on an objective scale, is a much greater deed than keeping shtum about Abraham. So why was he saved for the latter?
Lot was raised in the house of Abraham – the epitome of kindness – so to put his life on the line for strangers to bring them into his house, was second nature to him.
As great a deed as it was on an objective scale, subjectively for Lot it was not a particularly difficult struggle.
But we do know Lot had a problem with money. He moved to Sodom, even though the people were totally wicked there, because the land was fertile and he could make his fortune.
Therefore, he would have been very tempted to betray his uncle Abraham, but because he resisted that temptation he merited to be saved.
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler refers to this as the principle of ‘the point of choice’.
If we make the right decision, especially if it was a struggle for us, then we have achieved exactly what God wanted us to accomplish and we will be given great credit as a result.
Rabbi Alex Chapper is community rabbi of Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue and the Children’s Rabbi www.childrensrabbi.com