Lift Our Eyes!

The approach of sadistic, barbaric and repulsive terror gangs is nothing new. In this week’s Parsha, the Torah relates to us that two angels came to the city of Sedom with the mission of rescuing Avraham’s nephew Lot and his family, and to destroy the utterly wicked cities of Sedom and Amorah.

Sedom had an ordinance forbidding any of its inhabitants to host visitors. Lot had been raised in the hospitable home of Avraham, so when he saw the angels, who were dressed as people, he invited them into his home and served them.

Within a short time, word got out that Lot was entertaining guests and the young and old of the city surrounded his home and demanded that Lot release the guests. Rashi explains that their wish was to first abuse them and eventually kill them, as per their law.

Lot went out and tried to negotiate with the rowdy crowd, but they lunged at him and the angels had to pull him inside and rescue him.

At this point, the Torah relates, G-d inflicted the aggressive group with an infliction of Sanvairim – blindness.

You would think this would stop them, but they kept on with their plan to storm the house, despite the fact that they had no idea where they were going.

The angels then turned to Lot and told him they were going to destroy the cities and rescue Lot and his family. They took Lot, his wife, and two of their daughters.

Our sages tell us something surprising. The angels that were sent from heaven to destroy the cities of Sedom and Amorah, were not allowed back to heaven for some 138 years. It wasn’t until our forefather Yaacov had his prophetic dream of the ladder resting on earth and extended to the heavens that these angels were allowed back up.

Why were these angels banished from heaven? The answer given is because they told Lot, ‘we are the destroyers’ of the cities and they did not say, “We are commissioned by G-d to destroy the cities.” Since they attributed the destruction to themselves and not the Almighty, they were banished.

As we are living through the horrific attacks on our brethren by sub-humans, we see some parallels with the unruly people of Sedom.

They were poised to attack visitors who were invited in as a gesture of Chesed on Lot’s part. They demanded to abuse and kill the visitors.

When the people were blinded, they couldn’t control themselves and kept on trying to do damage with no direction.

Isn’t this similar to what went on and what’s going on with Hamas?

Thank G-d, Hashem gives us tools, weapons, strategies, and courageous soldiers to defend and root out our enemy. We learn from the angel’s infraction, that we must place our trust in the Almighty who is the one that guides and energizes His couriers to be most effective in their mission.

The way we portray this is through our prayers, good deeds, performing Mitzvos, studying Torah and outwardly expressing our trust and hope in the Almighty’s ability to do the miraculous at any moment!

Often, when faced with an impossible situation, such as Israel being bombarded from all sides, along with the rise of the ugly head of antisemitism here and throughout the world, one’s natural response may be to capitulate and give up. The Hebrew word for, “giving up” is Yi’ush. How do we combat feelings of Yi’ush?

In this week’s Parsha the Torah speaks of some of Avraham’s tests of faith in the Almighty. The Torah uses the Hebrew word, Vayisah – “and he lifted his eyes” ― in reference to Avraham.

When Avraham was wishing to do Chesed on the third day after his circumcision, ‘he lifted his eyes’ and saw travelers and he ran to them. To Avraham, travelers on the hottest day of the year was an opportunity to do Chesed.

When Avraham was instructed to offer his son Yitzchok on the Altar, and was traveling to the place, the Torah tells us that Avraham “lifted his eyes’ and saw a spiritual cloud hovering over the Temple mount. Yitzchok saw it, while Yishmael and Eliezer who were traveling with them did not see it.

After Avraham passed this test of being ready to sacrifice his son, the Torah tells us ‘he lifted his eyes’ and saw a ram, and offered it as a sacrifice instead of his son.

In all these situations, other people would have seen nothing unusual, people walking on a hot day, the landscape and a ram.

Avraham lifted his eyes and saw beyond. He saw opportunities. He saw guests, he saw spirituality in a cloud and he saw a special ram that was placed there so he could sacrifice to G-d. Would you know, that the Gematria (and same letters) of the word Yi’ush – giving up, is the same as Yayisah – and he looked up – 317!

Which means, our forefather Avraham taught and instilled in us that when one feels there is no way out, the remedy is to ‘lift our eyes’ and see the spiritual opportunities that we have right before us and connect to them. Through them we will be uplifted, and it will engender Hashem to save us from all our concerns and troubles!