We last saw our Journeyman on his quest to the Holy Land. We now find him and his future nation settling in the land with a whole new set of challenges and fabled adventures.
In this week’s Parsha God informs Abraham of his intention to bring fire and brimstone to the city of Sodom. God first asks, “Shall I hide from him that which I am doing?” perhaps because deep down he feels as though Abraham may feel uncomfortable with the prospect of mass execution. But nay, Abraham will be the father of all nations of the earth one day and he will, “keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.”
I find that passage in context very interesting to read and interpret. It brings up the idea of right and wrong and its role throughout history and its changing nature. If God is expecting Abraham to be a just and righteous example to the world and fulfil the word of Hashem and then goes and destroys a city, does this mean that in that time period this was not seen as evil? Perhaps, as it is not the first and only example of this in the Torah. The story of Noah and the flood is very similar when it refers to Noah as, “a just man,” before he let humanity die. To me and hopefully all others, Genocide is unacceptable, even though it still occurs today which pains my heart to hear. So right now I am seeing this;
Genocide for the greater good in Torah times: Righteous
Genocide for the greater good in 2014: fascist.
It makes you wonder if Genocide is inherently evil or if it just a reflection of the values of contemporary society. As little as 60 years ago homosexuality was a moral atrocity but before that in the period of the Roman Empire it was acceptable and then we go to today where 17 Westernised countries have legalized same sex marriage. It’s gone full circle in the space of a millennium. It seems to me that the concept of having right and wrong in a society is a constant however what is right and what is wrong is constantly changing.
It makes me really think about the things we take so seriously today and the way we perceive the right and wrong way of living a just life. I often ponder as to what society in 50 years will say about us today, what are our moral atrocities that appear “normal “and which will be dissolved by 2064, poverty? economic inequality? Animal factory farming?
Today I end with confusion rather than a strong conviction and motivating quote, it is quite refreshing. Think about it.