So I’m told we should “live with the times” and find how our lives are
connected to the Torah portion (parshah) of the week. That only when we see ourselves in the Torah can we say we’ve truly learned.
I read the parshah, and I learn of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I learn of how Lot is saved and how his wife is turned into a pillar of salt. And I search to see my life in these words. I’d rather not see it, of course, as the connection is too intense, too real, too true. I'd rather pretend that this is merely a story, a lesson about universal evil needing to be removed. How do I relate to a pillar of salt? And yet I do—all too much.
So this is the story. An evil community is destined to be destroyed. It is to be totally annihilated and Abraham is foretold of the destruction. He argues with G‑d, begging him not to destroy the land and those who inhabit it. He begs that the people be spared in the merit of 50 righteous people. Yet he cannot find 50. He tries to find 45. Forty. Thirty. Twenty. Ten. Still, he
cannot. The city is utterly evil, and it is to be destroyed. Only Lot and his
family will be saved. There is one condition. Don’t look back. But the
temptation is too great. And Lot’s wife looks. And she is turned into a pillar
So I, too, am often that pillar of salt. Stuck and hardened between where I
never should have been and where I need to go. If only I could have the strength to let go. I try to reason, to rationalize why certain things are good for me. And even if they aren’t good for me, they are good for someone, right? At least one person, right? Wrong. There is no good there. There is nothing to be redeemed. It must be destroyed. The relationship cannot exist. The only thing that can be saved is me. And only if I leave and don't look back. Never look back.
Yet I can’t help it. I take the first step away. I leave where I never should have been towards where I must go. If only I can make it there and leave this behind. Truly leave behind me what aims to bring me down and destroy me with it. If I can keep going it will be gone forever. If I can let go, it will lose its power to hurt me. And yet, time and time again, I look back. And I am once again as frozen as that pillar of salt.