The Paradox of Imperfection

Congregation P’nai Tikvah – Nov 18, 2016 | 5777

In this week’s Torah portion, G-o-d decides to tell our father Abraham that the cities of Sodom and Gomora are going to be destroyed.[1] This is an instance in which Abraham displays an uncanny ability to negotiate with G-o-d as though he and G-o-d were friends. This is the story:  G-o-d tells Abraham that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are committing grievous sins by victimizing one another. G-o-d says that the victims are crying out for help and G-o-d has decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of this.

Abraham says to G-o-d, ”Wait a minute, will you destroy the righteous together with the wicked? Perhaps there are only fifty righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Won’t you perhaps spare these places for the sake of those fifty righteous people?” And the most amazing thing is that G-o-d immediately gives in and says, “Yes! If I find fifty righteous people there, I will spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of those fifty righteous people.”

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