• Gabbai

Guest Post – Lot’s Wife

Lot’s Wife (his wife) Graham Hesselberg

Vayeira:  This week’s portion is alive with family dynamics, marital relationships, parent-child connections and sibling interaction.  It is a rattling good account of the beginnings of our heritage.

But there is one part of the story that we rarely hear discussed in depth in Shul or during weekly shiurim, and if mentioned at all, it is often only mentioned to belittle or deride a person who in our narrative is has universally been seen as just ‘plain bad’.

Chapter 19 verse 26, the person being Lot’s wife.

‘His wife peered behind him and she became a pillar of salt.’

The verse can easily be broken up into three different elements to study.

We can discuss his wife, the action of turning and the resulting transformation to a pillar of salt.

These three parts have been combined or further broken down in varying ways over the years by a number of scholars and examined and studied, but never to the extent of the other themes and accounts in Vayeira.

There is much that the narratives of Torah don’t explain. This is where Midrash comes in.  According to tradition the Torah was transcribed with black fire on white fire. Through Midrash, we explore the unstated, the white fire. We try to read between the words.  But much of the concealed white fire of this verse remains a mystery.