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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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The Sinning City

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Through the ages, the city of Sodom has been a symbol of wickedness and evil. Its acts were so horrendous that Hashem destroyed it, unable to find even ten righteous people within its borders.

Wealth

The reason the people were haughty was because Hashem had blessed their land with fruitfulness and plenty. The area was so rich and fertile that there was not a path or road in the entire city which did not have alongside it seven trees of seven kinds of fruits – such as vines, dates, pomegranates, almonds, apples, etc. – with each tree towering over the one next to it until every road was completely covered and shaded.

Wonders Of The Soil

Rabi Levi in the name of Rabi Yochanan said: “Listen, how thickly numerous were the leaves of these trees. It is well know that the Bar-Hadya (a species of vultures) has such remarkable keen vision that hanging high in the heavens he can see his food from a distance of eighteen miles. Nevertheless, the leaves of those trees were so thick that they afforded him no vision, so that the bird perched on top could not see the ground beneath.”

But this was the least of the blessings. When a Sodomite would go to the gardener and buy a vegetable for a nominal fee, upon taking it home and rinsing it off, wonder of wonders! Amidst the soil attached to the roots were particles of gold! Indeed, the riches of Sodom were unbelievable, and this was due only to the blessings of the Almighty.

Sodom Grows Greedy

The people of Sodom, however, did not rejoice in their good fortune; they were greedy.

“We luxuriate in splendor and the good life. Food comes from the earth endlessly; Gold and silver come forth from the soil; wherever one walks he treads upon diamonds and precious jewels,” they said.

“And if so what need have we for strangers entering our city and partaking of this wealth? They are merely parasites that will take and take. Let us gather and once and for all and create a policy which will forever wipe out the right of foreigners to enter our city.”

When the Holy One, Blessed Be He, saw this He declared: “Because you refuse to share the goodness that I gave you with others; because you would do away with strangers and outsiders – I instead will do away with you.”

The Twisted Laws Of Sodom

The people of Sodom instituted a tax upon all who entered the city. Those who entered by way of the bridge were compelled to pay four zuzim, while those who swam across were forced to pay eight zuzim. In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

It happened that a certain individual entered the city. The officials ordered him to pay four zuzim. “But I came by way of the river,” protested the man, thinking that he would not have to pay.

“Is that so?” said the officials. “In that case you must pay eight zuzim.”

“What kind of a weird land is this?” cried the man, and he began to struggle with the Sodomites. In the battle he was injured and began to bleed. Taken before the judges, he demanded that he be paid for the injuries inflicted upon him, but according to the law he was forced instead to pay his attackers.

Eliezer Tricks The Judge

It so happened that Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, was in the same courtroom while this was going on. He too was there because someone had injured him. Brought before the judge, he was told to pay as well.

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Time passed and Zemira gave birth to a son but not even this could awaken Avinadav from his melancholy.

Yonadav was greatly impressed at the vast sums of money the young man had in his possessions.

“I do nothing worthwhile,” he modestly replied and refused to discuss any of his deeds. For the man was a very modest and humble person.

While he slept, he dreamed of Eliyahu HaNavi, who was trying to awaken him from his sleep.

“I’ll pay you whether you cure her or kill her,” shouted the loyal husband.

He lacked for nothing materialistic and could have lived the rest of his life, had he chosen to, in the luxury and laziness that dominated the Roman upper class life.

When the soldiers heard this they exclaimed happily: “You mean this is the sacred Jewish fruit? Hurry, get on the horse. You are coming with us to the palace.”

Now let me ask you, what would happen to an infantryman if he deserted his regiment and went to serve in the cavalry? He would be court-martialed, wouldn’t he?”

Dug out beneath his bunk was a little chest which he guarded with his very life. It contained a small Sefer Torah, miniature size, but kosher, and a shofar.

So began a marvelous period of good fortune. He invested the twenty-four gold pieces in many types of businesses and everything his hand touched turned to gold.

Pressing close to the cage, the Ibn Ezra shouted the words, “Shema Yisrael…”

“You can have your choice,” said the wise king. “You can choose to take this gold, 100 pieces each, or I can give you each three pieces of advice.”

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
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The man was overjoyed to see his benefactor and gave them food and water besides shelter and safety.

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

Because of this I wandered about and found friends in similar situations who were also unhappy and I began to hang out with them.

Time passed and Zemira gave birth to a son but not even this could awaken Avinadav from his melancholy.

Yonadav was greatly impressed at the vast sums of money the young man had in his possessions.

“I do nothing worthwhile,” he modestly replied and refused to discuss any of his deeds. For the man was a very modest and humble person.

While he slept, he dreamed of Eliyahu HaNavi, who was trying to awaken him from his sleep.

“I’ll pay you whether you cure her or kill her,” shouted the loyal husband.

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