Latest update: May 23rd, 2013
Even when a man may is fully motivated and driven to perform, this tendency can remain in the background and surface in almost undetectable ways influencing his actions and decisions.
This seems to be the answer to the Sforno. Lot was fully aware that the malachim came to destroy Sodom and because of that he was in a state of extreme agitation. Yet at the same time there was a heaviness that influenced him. While he understood the gravity of the situation, he was still pulled by the heaviness of physicality, and when there was a decision to be made, both elements had their say. He was indecisive because he was overwhelmed, but in the background, without his being aware of it, was also a sluggishness that made it even harder to choose. The chiddush we see from this Sforno is that laziness will surface and factor into the equation even under such grave circumstances.
Laziness in Our Lives
The concept is very helpful in understanding the dynamics of the human personality. It is almost unheard of that a single trait will drive a person’s behavior. Typically, there are multiple forces at work: some good, some bad, and some just nature. Within our actions there may be many factors that weigh and shape the way we operate. While we may think the reason we aren’t producing enough is that we aren’t sufficiently motivated, it may also be a simple dose of laziness. Held down by metal chains, tied to a ball of heavy iron, the lazy man can’t move. Everything is difficult; everything is a burden. Even the greatest motivation won’t get him to move. Lot could not have been more motivated to act. He was distraught because he understood that his very life and the life of his city was at risk, yet laziness factored in and prevented him from moving.
For a person to reach his potential, it isn’t enough to be motivated to do the work necessary; he must attack this middah directly. When he does, Hashem will help him to acquire the opposite: the middah of alacrity, so he can change his very nature and become the great individual he was destined to be.
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