Article

Abraham was an unwavering believer in the power of the Divine soul that inhabits every being - regardless of who he or she is. Even when he encountered "hopeless cases", Abraham still believed that their soul can be ignited and that their lives, therefore, can take a turn for the better. 

Rabbi Allouche

If he had lived today, many a friend, therapist, and psychologist would have deemed him a “hopeless case.”

It seems that Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived a life replete with sin and failure. First, we are told that Lot would let his animals roam the fields of his neighbors and steal the produce of their land. Shortly thereafter,  to the city of Sodom, where he befriended the wicked. He then married a woman who despised guests. He even treated his daughters as prostitutes, who were easily ‘traded’ for personal favors.

But Abraham never gave up on Lot. He never ceased to reach out to him, with encouraging words and actions. But why? Why did Abraham — who was preoccupied day and night with revolutionizing the world with monotheism — give Lot so much attention? Why devote so much effort to such a “hopeless case”?

The answer is simple yet profound: Abraham was an unwavering believer in the power of the Divine soul that inhabits every being – regardless of who he or she is. Even when he encountered “hopeless cases”, Abraham still believed that their soul can be ignited and that their lives, therefore, can take a turn for the better. 

In the end, Abraham’s extraordinary approach transformed Lot, beyond anyone’s loftiest dreams. In this week’s portion, we encounter an unrecognizable Lot who welcomes two guests to his home in spite of Sedom’s cruel rule to ban visitors from entering the city. He loves them, feeds them, bathes their feet, and treats them like family. What a change did Abraham generate in Lot! 

It is said of Michelangelo that when he carved his famous statue of King David, he did not have to “carve” David from a rock. All he had to do was “uncover” David. He could already see David within the rock, even before his work began. That was Abraham’s vision too, who saw a spark of heaven and endless potential, even in the most disengaged and unaffiliated person.

In our own lives, we too may encounter people, or inner facets, that are deemed “hopeless.” At times, we even spend an immeasurable amount of time, energy, and resources, only to realize, that all of our efforts are seemingly in vain.

Yet Abraham teaches us to never give up. And he taught us all that which King David wrote so eloquently: “Those who plant in tears will, ultimately, harvest with shouts of joy” (Psalms 127:5).