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 fifty righteous people. Yet he cannot
find fifty. He tries to find forty-five. 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
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.