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Author:  Ernest
E-mail:  not available
Date:  11/1/2004 11:25:00 AM
Subject:  Vayera
Message:  Please forgive this question...it displays my ignorance but is asked in earnest.

I read this past week's portion. It is, as they would say today, "R rated" in many respects--meaning I wouldn't be ready to explain its literal meaning to my young children!

It puzzles me that we accept certain behavior described in the Torah on its face. For example, when the evildoers of Sodom come to Lot to "rape" his male visitors (whom Lot presumably knows to be heavenly emmisaries), Lot says something like "I have two virginal daughters--why not take them and do as you please with them?"

Why was this a good thing for him to say? If Lot was a "good guy" how could he offer up his own daughters this way?

In the case of Abraham there is the situation with him pretending Sarah is his sister, knowing that she might then be taken to Abimelech to be his personal concubine? Here at least I might see that there is pikuach nefesh but, knowing what would certainly happen to Sarah, how is Abraham ok with this?

Just two of numerous examples from Vayera where, if we lived by that example today in our Orthodox circles such people would be dealt harshly with!!

thanks for your thoughts!
Reply:  These concepts cannot be taken at face value. You are right. At face value they seem strange. What about the whole world we know today caused by a snake and a fruit. Couldn't get any stranger. The depths of the REAL meanings of these things are beyond our simplistic comprehension. Look at the Alshi'"ch, and one day you can read the Zohar and begin unlocking the real translation and understanding.

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