Saturday, October 23, 2021

Parshat Shavua: Lot and His Daughters-Disfunctional Family

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week VaYerah, includes two very disturbing scenes concerning  the family life of Avraham's nephew, also protégé, Lot. Both are in Bereishit Genesis Chapter 19.

The first event, which is printed below, takes place when two messengers from Gd, generally translated as angels, who appear to be ordinary men, come to Lot to tell him to take his family and leave Sdom. When neighbors begin to attack the house demanding that Lot hand over the guests for the neighbors to rape, Lot in defense of his guests offers his virgin daughters instead.

Genesis Chapter 19
Chabad.org

I consider this offer to be beyond outrageous. We don't read of any protest by his wife or daughters. They are very unlike Avraham's wife Sarah who's not afraid to tell her husband when things need fixing in the family. But most important it prepares us for an equally shocking act by the daughters themselves.

After only Lot and his two daughters manage to escape from Sdom, the girls, believing that they are the last three people on earth, decide to sleep with their father in order to have children. But they didn't tell their father of the plan; they got him drunk, so he was oblivious.

Genesis Chapter 19 continued:

30And Lot went up from Zoar, and he dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters were with him, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. לוַיַּ֩עַל֩ ל֨וֹט מִצּ֜וֹעַר וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב בָּהָ֗ר וּשְׁתֵּ֤י בְנֹתָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ כִּ֥י יָרֵ֖א לָשֶׁ֣בֶת בְּצ֑וֹעַר וַיֵּ֨שֶׁב֙ בַּמְּעָרָ֔ה ה֖וּא וּשְׁתֵּ֥י בְנֹתָֽיו:
31And the elder said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man on earth to come upon us, as is the custom of all the earth. לאוַתֹּ֧אמֶר הַבְּכִירָ֛ה אֶל־הַצְּעִירָ֖ה אָבִ֣ינוּ זָקֵ֑ן וְאִ֨ישׁ אֵ֤ין בָּאָ֨רֶץ֙ לָב֣וֹא עָלֵ֔ינוּ כְּדֶ֖רֶךְ כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ:
32Come, let us give our father wine to drink, and let us lie with him, and let us bring to life seed from our father." לבלְכָ֨ה נַשְׁקֶ֧ה אֶת־אָבִ֛ינוּ יַ֖יִן וְנִשְׁכְּבָ֣ה עִמּ֑וֹ וּנְחַיֶּ֥ה מֵֽאָבִ֖ינוּ זָֽרַע:
33And they gave their father wine to drink on that night, and the elder came and lay with her father, and he did not know of her lying down or of her rising up. לגוַתַּשְׁקֶ֧יןָ אֶת־אֲבִיהֶ֛ן יַ֖יִן בַּלַּ֣יְלָה ה֑וּא וַתָּבֹ֤א הַבְּכִירָה֙ וַתִּשְׁכַּ֣ב אֶת־אָבִ֔יהָ וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֥ע בְּשִׁכְבָ֖הּ וּבְקוּמָֽהּ:
34And it came to pass on the morrow, that the elder said to the younger, "Behold, last night I lay with my father. Let us give him wine to drink tonight too, and come, lie with him, and let us bring to life seed from our father." לדוַֽיְהִי֙ מִמָּֽחֳרָ֔ת וַתֹּ֤אמֶר הַבְּכִירָה֙ אֶל־הַצְּעִירָ֔ה הֵֽן־שָׁכַ֥בְתִּי אֶ֖מֶשׁ אֶת־אָבִ֑י נַשְׁקֶ֨נּוּ יַ֜יִן גַּם־הַלַּ֗יְלָה וּבֹ֨אִי֙ שִׁכְבִ֣י עִמּ֔וֹ וּנְחַיֶּ֥ה מֵֽאָבִ֖ינוּ זָֽרַע:
35So they gave their father to drink on that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know of her lying down or of her rising up. להוַתַּשְׁקֶ֜יןָ גַּ֣ם בַּלַּ֧יְלָה הַה֛וּא אֶת־אֲבִיהֶ֖ן יָ֑יִן וַתָּ֤קָם הַצְּעִירָה֙ וַתִּשְׁכַּ֣ב עִמּ֔וֹ וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֥ע בְּשִׁכְבָ֖הּ וּבְקֻמָֽהּ:
36And Lot's two daughters conceived from their father. לווַתַּֽהֲרֶ֛יןָ שְׁתֵּ֥י בְנֽוֹת־ל֖וֹט מֵֽאֲבִיהֶֽן:
37And the elder bore a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of Moab until this day. לזוַתֵּ֤לֶד הַבְּכִירָה֙ בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ מוֹאָ֑ב ה֥וּא אֲבִֽי־מוֹאָ֖ב עַד־הַיּֽוֹם:
38And the younger, she too bore a son, and she named him Ben-ami; he is the father of the children of Ammon until this day. לחוְהַצְּעִירָ֤ה גַם־הִוא֙ יָ֣לְדָה בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ בֶּן־עַמִּ֑י ה֛וּא אֲבִ֥י בְנֵֽי־עַמּ֖וֹן עַד־הַיּֽוֹם:
We never hear Lot's reaction when he discovers his "virgin daughters" pregnant or anything else about this besides the last verses which states that it resulted in two nations, Moab and Ammon. 

I feel that there's a connection between these two events. Something in the way Lot ran his home made his daughters feel that they needed to take charge and go against accepted moral practices.

Incidentally, King David's Great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabite. 

3 comments:

Tal Benschar said...

IIRC, there is a Midrash, or maybe one of the mefarshim, who writes that the daughters believed that the world had literally come to an end, and they were the only ones left alive. So that was the reasons they did what they did.

Batya said...

Yes, I eluded to that, but Lot should have told them that it was just their city. And he certainly knew their was a big world they'd find soon. I don't like these midrashim.

Anonymous said...

I say,ask Hashem directly. He does ansere, perhaps not at once, but He does.

Besides worse happening today with many religions and in their own family. And that is truth.

Shows that no one learns from the past.
Why get so het up about Lot...
Correct the world today if one can. Nu?

If you do not like what the midrashim says, then that is your choice. You see, all are free to think and act as they wish.

Lastly the poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - this verse-
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

So there we are..

Act- Act in the livig present... doing good where we can.