Don’t Just Check Out the Real Estate, Check Out the Community!

In Parshat Vayera we read about God’s destruction of the cities of Sdom and Amora and how God saved Lot (Avraham’s nephew) and his family.


How did Lot end up in Sdom in the first place?


In last week’s Parsha, Lech Lecha, Lot’s shepherds and Avram’s shepherds weren’t getting along so Avram told Lot that he would rather not fight and he gave him the choice to choose the part of Israel that he would like to live in: Breisheet 13:9-11 “If you go left then I will go right, and if you go right then I will go left. So Lot raised his eyes and saw the entire plain of the Jordan that it was well watered everywhere (before God destroyed Sdom and Amora) like the garden of God, like the land of Egypt, going toward Zoar. So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan…”


According to Ramban, the whole land of the Plain was adequately irrigated from the Jordan by working with the foot, just as was done in the garden of God as it says in Breisheet 2:10: “and a river went out of Eden to water the garden” and as is the way of the land of Egypt, concerning which is stated in Devarim 11:10: “And you watered it with your foot”. We see from here that the land of the Plain was as adequately irrigated as the Garden of Eden, the most perfect place on earth. Egypt is mentioned as well since it is a place known for pasture.


Everything sounds great about Lot’s choice until we read on a few psukim to sentence 13: “Now the people of Sdom were wicked and sinful toward God, exceedingly”.


As a result of the sinful behavior of the people of Sdom, God destroyed Sdom in Parshat Vayera. That area transformed from a “Garden of Eden” to become the desolate and inhospitable Dead Sea region of today.


When Lot split from Avraham and went to Sdom, he only checked out how beautiful the land was, but he did not check out who the inhabitants were. In the end, Avraham had to rescue Lot and his family, before the entire cities were destroyed.


We can learn from Lot’s mistake that it is not enough to check out the real estate before we look for a new place to live, we must be diligent in checking out who is living in the community.