banner2.gif
  Torah from Dixie leftbar.gif [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []    [top_xxx.jpg]

FAMILY FEUD

by Dr. Gabe Sosne    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

There was strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle; and the Canaanites and the Perizzites were then dwelling in the land" (Genesis 13:7).

complete_story.gif    

[]

There was strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle; and the Canaanites and the Perizzites were then dwelling in the land" (Genesis 13:7).

Lot and Abraham are two personalities that depict two diametrically opposed behavior patterns. After leaving Egypt and returning to the land of Israel, the Torah describes that Abraham was wealthy in cattle, in silver, and in gold (ibid. 13:2). Yet, the essence of Abraham's character is related to us two verses later when he returns to the place where he had initially made an altar and brings an offering of thanks to Hashem. Lot, too, had amassed great wealth, yet the Torah never states that he paused to offer thanks to Hashem. Rather, the Torah relates the disharmony that Lot and his herdsmen caused. Rashi, the fundamental Torah commentator, explains that Lot's herdsmen were wicked in allowing their cattle to pasture in the fields of others, while Abraham's shepherds rebuked them for their robbery. This was the source of the feud.

Rabbi Moshe Isserles, the great 16th century Ashkenazic halachic decisor, explains that the seemingly superfluous statement, "and the Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land," is teaching an important tenet. If two nations who are strangers to each other can live in peace and unity, then we, Abraham and Lot, who are brothers and relatives should certainly be able to coexist peacefully. Rabbi Isserles continues that this was a chillul Hashem, desecration of G-d's name, in front of the other nations.

The Sforno, the classic 16th century Italian Torah commentator, continues along a similar vein. He states that since Abraham and Lot were dwelling amongst other people who were the majority, the quarrel between the two would expose them to the enmity and contempt of the inhabitants of the land. Furthermore, the quarrel between two relatives who were strangers to the land was odious in the eyes of the native dwellers who would consider them as argumentative people and would assume that if they fight amongst themselves, how much more so will they quarrel with the native dwellers.

The ultimate root of this chillul Hashem and disagreement stemmed from the fact that Lot never took the time to thank Hashem for his wealth. This was a deficiency in Lot's very essence that reflected in his herdsmen allowing robbery with the cattle.

We all must reflect on our character traits that affect our personalities. The essence of who we are as Jews and as human beings depends upon our recognition that ultimately everything stems from Hashem. Abraham realized this, and it is a tribute to his greatness, as he built an altar after amassing his wealth. Lot, on the other hand, had no satiety for his appetite for wealth.

[]

Dr. Gabe Sosne, M.D., who hails from Atlanta, currently resides in Oak Park, Michigan where he is completing a residency in ophthalmology.

You are invited to read more Parshat Lech Lecha articles.

Would you recommend this article to a friend? Let us know by sending an e-mail to editor@tfdixie.com

butombar.gif [] [] [] []

1996, Torah From Dixie. All rights reserved.