Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Lot’s wife to salt and Back to Abraham

Torah study 1-1-11 Rabbi Janet Marder

Genesis 19: 25-35

Lot’s wife to salt and Back to Abraham

Lots wife turns into salt. Many examples of use of salt to curse the land connects to the book of Judges. Connects to this reference.

Naomi Rosenblat book Wrestling With Angels: Lots relationship with sons and his hesitation. His wife represents her preoccupation with the past. Hard to move forward. Parallel to the Jews hesitation to flee from peril during the Holocaust. Fixation on past trauma can paralyze people from moving forward.

There were actual geologic formations attributed to being Lots wife. Legends about their formation and that they had the ability to regenerate. No one knows where it is now.

Book: The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World by Lucette Lagnado – Focus on things that cause resistance to moving forward.

Theme of not looking back in ancient literature. Looking behind can be a dangerous way to live.

Fire brimstone. Leon Kass. Fire on Sodom. Instead if water. Sulfurous fire. Burning desire and anger. Symbolic representation of fire. Passion or aggression

Discussion of the connection between anger and passion. Violence from sexual sin.

Reference to a Film: The Squid and the Whale (2005) Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

Back to Abraham: Early. Structurally the narrative is picking up from ch 18.

Abraham rose in the morning.

Conveys quality of zeal and energy first thing in the day.

Hurry to the place. To see the outcome of what happened. Why in the morning?

Idea: A scholar should not go out alone at night. When alone at night even a scholar is metaphorically open to trouble when no one is watching.

Morning prayers originated from this.

Proper for a person to have a set place to pray. "he retuned to the same place where he had met with God."

Why is it a good idea to have a set place to pray ?

Make it a habit. Not preoccupied with the logistics.

Midrash repeated prayer in same place holds memories there. If missing. "God will notice that you are missing and worry about you."

Some places become more sacred because of the history.

1 can better focus on prayer

2 sacrifices were in a fixed place

3 the history of a place with many prayers makes it sacred

What is your place? Within a range so that it will not cause problems to be in same place due to other circumstances like, someone is in your seat.

When not in a synagogue you should have a special place.

Others feel should have set place in the synagogue.

Solavechi uses this to encourage regular attendance at synagogue even if in a depressed personal state. If a person has a regular place at synagogue and they are not there then they are noticed as missing which may be a sign of illness or depression.

Frum satire website:

Fixed Place - Makom kavua issue on place sitting. Fight over the seat. Rosh chodish made it worse.

Much talk about the value of welcoming the stranger is more important than ownership of the space you pray.