"And G‑d made sulfur and fire rain down on Sodom and Gomorra - from G‑d, out of the sky. He overturned those cities and the entire plain, together with all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the ground." (Gen 19:24)

"Sulfur and fire…He overturned these cities": All the cities of the plain were overturned, but only Sodom and Gomorra were obliterated with sulfur and fire. The cities Admah and Tzvaim were punished because of their wickedness towards G‑d, while Sodom and Gomorra were punished primarily for their wickedness towards man. (see Rashi's commentary on Genesis 14:2) Thus, similar to the destruction of the generation of the Flood, whose wickedness was against G‑d and man, G‑d utterly destroyed Sodom and Gomorra. The world of Tohu was destroyed so that the world of Tikun…could be built out of its ruins…

In Kabbala, Sodom and Gomorra embody the fallen version of the lights of Tohu, intense and single-minded Divine energies that cannot be confined to vessels and cannot coexist with one another. This single-mindedness is reflected in the selfishness of Sodom. Thus, Sodom and Gomorra had to be destroyed entirely, just as the world of Tohu was destroyed so that the world of Tikun, the world of less intense light and more concrete vessels, could be built out of its ruins.

The ultimate experience, though, is when the infinite lights of Tohu are contained in the finite vessels of Tikun. Thus, when Ezekiel prophesies (Ezekiel 16:53) that in the Messianic era these cities will be restored, he is also referring to the lights of Tohu, which will finally be integrated into the vessels of Tikun.

Copyright 2001 Chabad of California / http://www.LAchumash.org