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The Money in the Middle

Rabbi Yehuda Yona Silver

Kollel Member

ויקחו את לוט ואת רכשו בן אחי אברם וילכו (יד יב)
And they (the four kings) took Lot and his wealth, the nephew of Avram, and they went. (14: 12)

It is very interesting to follow the lifeline of Lot. He grew up in Avraham's house and then later left everything he owned behind to follow Avraham to Eretz Canaan. Yet subsequently, he chooses to live in Sedom, a land of stinginess and immorality. Where was his change of heart? What caused him to go against everything that Avraham represented? How radically different from when he gave up every- thing for Avraham's ideaology! How do we explain this stark contradiction in Lot’s life?!

Rabbi Shimon Schwab draws an amazing insight into human behavior from this Pasuk. The Pasuk states, 'Lot and his wealth, the nephew of Avram'. However, it would have read more easily had it said, 'Lot, the nephew of Avram, and his wealth.' R' Schwab says that the Pasuk is written this way to imply that the wealth of Lot stood between him and being a true nephew of Avraham. The cause for Lot's spiritual decline was that his wealth blinded him. First, it caused him to condone his shepherds’ stealing and thereby got involved in the fight with Avraham's shepherds. Then, he turned his back on Avraham and (his) God and chose to settle near, and eventually, in Sedom. Ultimately, he lived with his own daughters!

When one views his possessions as his own, rather than as a loan from Hashem with which to do Hashem's will, those possessions can be the cause of great pitfalls, both spiritually and even in his relationships, as the Pasuk says in Mishley (18: 1), “Lust seeks separation”.

Have a great and meaningful Shabbos!!

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