Something awfully wrong happened when Sodom was demolished. First, it appears Sodom’s destruction caught Abraham by surprise. The day before, he negotiated the threshold with God, likely with the intention of saving Lot – there must be 10, if not 50 righteous in Lot’s camp. The angels determined there are not and destroyed Sodom.

We know the carnage traveled up through Zoar into the mountains, which possibly prompted Abraham to escape to Gerar. We can speculate that Abraham was surprised since he made no advance security arrangements with Gerar. As he approached Gerar, fearing for his life, Abraham resorted to the good old trick of claiming that his wife, Sarah, is his sister. This was based on his conclusion that Gerar is not God-fearing. How could this be? Abraham’s defeat of the five kings created a pro-monotheistic environment. What could have set it back?

The answer might be embedded in the second thing that went awfully wrong that night. Our monotheistic narrative is that Sodom was destroyed by God. But is that also the other side’s narrative?

The people of Sodom were told that night that the city would be destroyed. But as the angels began the process, Lot repeatedly stalled and then asked to abort the mission, claiming he does not have sufficient time to reach the safety point in the mountains. God granted his request, allowing him to stay in Zoar, and hence delaying the destruction til morning.

One could only imagine the victorious celebration that night in Sodom: The angels escaped, Lot was kicked out, and the city is intact – indeed, laughing at God’s threats.

How many anti-monotheistic stories and ethoses were formed that night? To understand the magnitude of the setback to monotheism, one can look at the 1973 Yom Kippur War’s faulty “concept”: Egypt will not attack Israel, since it does not have the capabilities to win back the Sinai. Israel failed to recognize the immensity of the Egyptian objective to restore their honor through a temporary victory, even if followed by defeat.

Abraham seemed to conclude that in spite of the regional pro-monotheistic environment that existed the night before, things have now changed: Gerar “fell” and can no longer be presumed God-fearing.

The writer is the author of upcoming book, Judaism 3.0. For details: For comments: 
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This article first appeared in the november 20, 2020 Jerusalem Post magazine as well as in the November 20, 2020 jerusalem post International Edition (click to expand):

More articles linking Torah & Zionism: Parasha & Herzl

More geopolitical articles: Europe & Jerusalem

Related Jerusalem Post articles by Gol Kalev:

To Egypt or to Israel? – Both Herzl and Joshua & Caleb understood what establishment Israelite leadership of their respective time did not – the exodus from Egypt/Europe is the return to Judaism even before it is the return to the land of the Jews.

The inauguration of Judaism 1.0 – The Temple was the point-of-orientation for Judaism When the Romans destroyed the Temple, they destroyed Judaism’s anchor. Yet, Judaism did not evaporate. Instead it transformed, adopting a new anchor – Rabbinical Judaism, centered around Halacha (Jewish Law),  the canonization of the Oral Torah and the yearning to return.

Jewish transformation – Judaism 3.0 – For 2,000 years of exiles Judaism was bound by internal glue of religiosity and external one of insularity.  With the radical decline in religious observance and elimination of outer walls, once again, Judaism has lost its anchor.  But at the same time a new one emerged – Zionism, which is now turning into the organizing principle of Judaism.

European Actions Hurt Palestinians and Block Peace – From 1920 Tel-Chai events till today, Europe marks a century of debilitating interference in Isarel-Palestinian affiars.

more by Gol Kalev on, including:

European hijacking the Palestinian cause

European opposition to the Jewish state

Europe should benefit from Herzl’s vision

The resurfacing of European Colonialism

The battle for Europe


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