Dear SHA Community,
I hope that you have registered for our Trivia Night Campaign Kickoff Event this Motze Shabbat - Saturday Night - at 7:30 pm. I look forward to seeing you there to socialize and have fun!
In this week’s parasha, VaYera, Avraham Avinu is told of Hashem’s plan to destroy Sedom and its four sister cities. The Torah describes these cities as centers of decrepit morals populated by denizens of corrupt values.
The Torah recounts that Avraham asked Hashem to preserve the cities on account of tzaddikim – righteous people – who may have lived in the cities. Avraham inquires whether Hashem would destroy the cities if there were 50 righteous people. Hashem responds that He would not. Avraham then inquires whether Hashem would destroy the cities if there were 45 righteous people. Hashem responds that He would not. Avraham then inquires about 40, 30, 20 or even 10 righteous people. Hashem responds that in any of these cases, He would not cause destruction.
What was the foundation of Avraham’s argument? Why did he think that the existence of a group of righteous people would affect G-d’s decision?
Groups influence people in ways that individuals cannot. Peer pressure and group-think are descriptions of two such influences. Seeking to associate with righteous friends and neighbors is important, however, when we associate with righteous groups, we are influenced on a different level and with a qualitatively different power. Through Avraham’s argument we learn about the critical importance of associating not only with righteous individuals but with righteous groups.
- What are ways that groups can influence individuals for the positive or for the negative?
- Where are some places and situations that groups of righteous people tend to get together?