El Al Wide

"If There Are Fifty": Why Fifty, Why Ten...Why Not One?

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Date:
Oct 20, 2021
Length:
33 min 1 sec
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Avraham's famous negotiations with God to spare the city of Sodom are perhaps the most gallant confrontational stand any human has taken against God - yet the power of the scene eclipse some of the oddities of the give-and-take. Why does Avraham start his negotiations with "If there are 50 innocent people..." - and why does he stop when he successfully gets God to agree to spare the city if there are only ten innocents? More to the point - what are these numbers all about? Why not argue that if one innocent person dies, to borrow from Blackstone, that is a lack of justice. In addition, the text goes out of its way to tell us that Avraham gazed down at the destruction which leaves us wondering why this story is in Humash at all.

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Learning on the Marcos and Adina Katz YUTorah site is sponsored today in memory of PRZ - Reb Zeilig Z'L and Bobby Lola Z'L, and Zeidy Benci z”l and by the Cohen, Kraut and Silver families in memory of Elaine Bienenfeld Silver z”l and by Eric Goldstein on the occasion of the yahrtzeit of his mother Blanche Goldstein z”l, Etta Brana bat Yitzchak