Sedra of the Week: Vayera

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sedra of the Week: Vayera

 Rachie Lister, Senior Rebbetzin at Edgware United Synagogue, looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

God remembered Avraham and He sent Lot out when He overturned the cities in which Lot lived. (Genesis 19:29)

The verse refers to Sodom and Gomorrah. But we know Lot only settled in Sodom and he could not have lived in two cities at the same time. How do we make sense of it?

Commentator Abraham Ibn Ezra says Lot lived in just one of the cities, but the Midrash says it was as if he lived in all the cities because his righteousness made a difference to them all. All of them were privileged and blessed because Lot lived in their region.

Ramban writes that Lot only became good because he associated with his uncle Abraham. He had chosen to reside among a sinful and immoral nation. This teaches us about the power of goodness. Abraham was so great he drew Lot after him even after they had parted ways and Lot had chosen to reside among people with low moral standards. Lot became so great that he later left his mark on thousands of people across five cities.

As spiritual descendants of Abraham, we have inherited the power of infectious goodness.  We are described as ohr l’amim, “a light unto the nations”. We are also all responsible for each other’s actions, meaning our good actions can affect another.

We should treasure our ability to do good, not just because it makes us better, but because it can improve those around us and those improved by us can, in turn, spread goodness further.

We try wherever possible to spread our good characteristics as an example to others and to keep good company so righteous people can have an everlasting influence over us.

  •  Rachie Lister is Senior Rebbetzin at Edgware United Synagogue

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: