Under the Influence

Vayeira

Lot and his daughters survived the destruction that befell Sodom, and found refuge in a nearby cave. The daughters thought the obliteration was not limited to their city but was a calamity suffered by the entire world. Not wanting the elimination of the human race, they conceived a plan to continue the propagation of homo-sapiens. As the only man available to father children was their own parent, they drew on the example of Adam’s children who necessarily married incestuously to reproduce. They wasted no time and that very night they caused the father – Lot – to become intoxicated in order to bear children.

Question

The daughters of Lot accrue merit for their actions as their intention was for the sake of Heaven, if so why was it necessary to inebriate their father? Couldn’t they contrive this plan together with him?

Answer

The generation of the flood was destroyed because of sexual immorality. The nations of the world had taken a lesson and erected safeguards lest they stoop to that low point were society has to be eradicated. Lot’s daughter’s realized that the idea of incest was so abhorrent to Lot; after all, their father had endangered his life to protect his guests from being subjected to homosexuality. A forbidden relationship was taboo and entering a dialogue with their father was doomed for failure, there was no way he would consent to something which in his eyes would bring the world down. The only method where it would be possible to have a relationship, was when Lot was under the influence.

After the first night it was time for the second daughter. Lot was aware of what transpired the previous night and enjoyed experimenting with sin in circumstances supposedly not under his control, yet he allowed himself to become drunk once again. Lot knew this wasn’t necessary because the end of the world was not near. Therefore he is scorned for the same act for which his daughters are richly rewarded. His sin is exacerbated by the fact that this action was so severe in his eyes, severe to the point his daughters would not even broach their plan with him, and yet he allowed himself to be repeatedly led to sin.

Lesson

Even when drunk “shiker like Lot” it is possible to be accountable for sin.

Story

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895 – 1986) was world-renowned for his expertise in Halachah and was regarded as the supreme Halachic authority of North America Jewry during his lifetime. Reb Moshe served as rabbi of Luban, near Minsk, until coming to the United States in 1937, where he became Rosh Yeshivah of MTJ in New York.

In 1922 a resident of Luban became ill with a strange illness, his tongue swelled in his mouth. When Reb Moshe came to visit him, the invalid requested that everyone leave except for the Rov.

He than began to tell Reb Moshe, during the previous Shabbos which was Parshas Vayeirah, he had disparagingly questioned how the daughters of Lot could merit having the Moshiach descend from them. These girls in naming their sons were not ashamed to reveal that they had had relations with their father.

That night, two elderly women, their faces and heads covered, appeared to him in a dream and informed him that they were the daughters of Lot. Having heard his rhetoric, they had come to respond to him. Being from the family of the Avrohom and delivered by a miracle from Sodom, they could have fabricated a story that a miracle occurred. They could have contended that they were impregnated by the Divine presence. Therefore, they named their children Ammon and Moab, to make it known that when a woman is pregnant the child has a flesh and blood father. For this merit they deserved to have the true Messiah descend from them. The daughters of Lot informed him that he had committed a great sin by speaking of them is such a derisive manner. For having done so he would be punished with a death similar to the Meraglim.

When this ill individual finished speaking to Reb Moshe, he turned his face to the wall and died. Reb Moshe said it appears to be words of truth.

3 Comments

  1. Very interesting and you tell it well!

    Do i understand that he is blamed only for the second night, when he permitted himself to become drunk, knowing the probable scheme but not for the first night, when he was unaware of the intent of his daughters?

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