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November 17, 1989 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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The Two Cities Synonymous
With Wickedness, Retribution

RABBI RICHARD HERTZ

Special to The Jewish News

W

ith the San Fran-
cisco earthquake
fresh in our minds,
it is interesting to recall
another catastrophic earth-
quake thousands of years ago
in the ancient Near East. Ar-
chaeologists believe it struck
from Armenia to central
Africa and left a deep cleft in
the earth, running north to
south from the Sea of Galilee
down the Jordan River to the
Dead Sea. The cleft, known as
the Syria-Africa Rift, con-
tinued south to Ethiopia.
The Bible tells of this rift
not in scientific or geological
terms but to depict a moral
lesson from an unforgettable
physical calamity. Simply
put, Sodom and Gomorrah
situated near the Dead Sea
were destroyed because their
people were evil. How evil?
Very evil.

Richard Hertz is rabbi
emeritus of Temple Beth El.

Listen to the way this
week's sedra tells the story.
Sodom and Gomorrah were
destroyed because of their in-
sensitivity to the sufferings of
others, because of sexual
deviation and licentiousness,
because they had no concern

Shabbat Vayera:
Genesis 18:1-22:24,
Kings 4:1-37

for the welfare of others,
becaulse of their depravity
and corruption and because
they showed no hospitality to
strangers.
The rabbis tell how the peo-
ple of Sodom and Gomorrah
treated strangers who came
by needing a place to sleep. A
standard-size bed was offered,
and if the stranger was too
short for the bed his arms and
legs were pulled until he was
stretched out. If he was too
long, his feet were cut so he
would fit the size of the bed.
Conformity was the rule of
Sodom.

When the three strangers
came to visit Abraham, they
knew what was in store for
Sodom and Gomorrah. Not so
Abraham. With his compas-
sion of humanity, he argued
with God as mankind's first
lawyer. Abraham was not like
Noah, indifferent to the fate
of his fellow beings.
Even though the people of
Sodom and Gomorrah were
depraved pagans, Abraham's
universality moved him to
plead three times with a
universal God to spare them.
"Shall not the judge of all the
earth deal justly?" Abraham's
passion for righteousness in-
sisted that the innocent not
have to suffer with the guilty,
even if the innocent were a
minority.
Abraham asked if 50 inno-
cent men could be found in
the city, would God spare it?
Yes? But, if not 50, then what
about 45? 40? 30? 20? 10?
Thus Abraham pleaded with
God, lowering the number
with each argument. But,
alas, there were no righteous

c2

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48

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1989

Bais Chabad of Birm-
ingham/Bloomfield Hills: Moshe

Polter, rabbi. 646-3010.

Bais Chabad of Farmington
Hills: 32000 Middlebelt Rd., Farm-

ington Hills. Chaim Bergstein, rab
bi. 855-2910.

Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield:

5595 W. Maple Rd., West Bloom-
field. Melech Silberberg, rabbi.
855-6170.

Beth Jacob-Mogain Abraham:

15751 W. Lincoln Dr., Southfield.
Dov Loketch, rabbi. 557-6750.

Beth Tefilo Emanuel Tikvah:

24225 Greenfield Rd., Southfield.
Leizer Levin, rabbi. 559-5022.

B'nai Israel-Beth Yehudah:

15400 W. 10 Mile Rd., Oak Park.
Yoel Sperka, rabbi. 967-3969.
B'nai Zion: 15250 W. Nine Mile
Rd., Oak Park. Solomon Gruskin,
rabbi. 968-2414.
Dovid Ben Nuchim: 14800 W. Lin-
coln, Oak Park. Chaskel Grubner,
rabbi. 968-9784.

Huntington Woods Minyan:

681-7955

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meets at the Burton School. Dave
Morrison, 542-1491.
Kollel Institute: 15230 W Lincoln,
Oak Park. Moshe Schwab, rabbi.
968-0109.
Machon L'Torah: 15221 W. Ten
Mile Rd., Oak Park. Avraham
Jacobowitz, rabbi. 967-0888.

Mishkan Israel, Nusach H'ari,
Lubavitcher Center: 14000 W. 9

Mile Rd., Oak Park. 543-6611.
Shaarey Shomayim: 15110 W. 10
Mile Rd., Oak Park. Leo Goldman,
rabbi. 547-8555.
Shomrey Emunah:
25451
Southfield Rd., Southfield. Shaiall
Zachariash, rabbi. 559-1533 or
557-9666.

Shomrey Emunah-Ohel Moed:

6191 Farmington Rd., West Bloom-
field. Eli Jundef, rabbi. 967-1806.
Young Israel of Greenfield: 15140
W. 10 Mile Rd., Oak Park. Reuven
Drucker, rabbi. 967-3655.

Young Israel of Oak-Woods:

24061 Coolidge, Oak Park. Eliezer
Cohen, rabbi. 398-1177.
Young Israel of Southfield: 27705
Lahser, Southfield. Elimelech
Goldberg, rabbi. 358-0154.

Young Israel of West Bloomfield:

6450 Farmington Rd., West Bloom-
field. Ira Lutzky, 259-8500.

TRADITIONAL:
B'nai David: 24350 Southfield Rd.,

Southfield. Morton Yolkut, rabbi.
557-8210.

CONSERVATIVE:
Adat Shalom: 29901 Middlebelt

Rd., Farmington Hills. Efry Spectre,
rabbi. 851-5100.

Beth Abraham Hine' Moses:

5075 W. Maple, West Bloomfield. A.
Irving Schnipper, rabbi. 851-6880.
Beth Achim: 21100 W. 12 Mile Rd.,
Southfield. Milton Arm, rabbi.
352-8670.
Beth Shalom: 14601 W. Lincoln
Rd., Oak Park. David Nelson, rab-
bi. 547-7970.
Beth Tephilath Moses: 146 South
Ave., Mt. Clemens. 465-0641.

B'nai Israel of West Bloomfield:

4200 Walnut Lake Rd., West Bloom-
field. Sherman Kirshner, rabbi.
681-5353.
B'nai Moshe: 14390 W. 10 Mile
Rd., Oak Park. Allan Meyerowitz,
rabbi. 548-9000.
Downtown Synagogue: 1457
Griswold, Detroit. Noah Gamze,
rabbi. 961-9328.

Livonia Jewish Congregation:

31840 W. 7 Mile Rd., Livonia.
477-8974.
Shaarey Zedek: 27375 Bell Rd.,
Southfield. Irwin Groner, rabbi.
357-5544.

REFORM:
Beth El: 7400 Telegraph Rd., Bir-

mingham. Daniel Polish, rabbi.
851-1100.
Beth Isaac: 2730 Edsel Dr., Tren-
ton. 675-0355.
Beth Jacob: 79 Elizabeth Lake
Rd., Pontiac. Richard Weiss, rabbi.
332-3212.
Emanu-El: 14450 W. 10 Mile Rd.,
Oak Park. Lane Steinger, rabbi.
967-4020.
Temple Israel: 5725 Walnut Lake
Rd., West Bloomfield. M. Robert
Syme, Harold Loss, Paul Yedwab,
rabbis. 661-5700.
Kol Ami: 5085 Walnut Lake Rd.,
West Bloomfield. Norman Roman,
rabbi. 661-0040.
Shir Shalom: 5642 Maple Rd.,
West Bloomfield. Dannel Schwartz,
rabbi. 737-8700.
Shir Tikvah: 3633 W. Big Beaver,
Troy. Arnie Sleutelberg, rabbi.
643-6520.

HUMANISTIC:
Birmingham Temple: 28611 W. •12

Mile Rd., Farmington Hills. Sher-
win Wine, rabbi. 477-1410.

RECONSTRUCTIONIST:
T'Chiyah: St. Antoine at Monroe,

Detroit. 393-1089.

UNAFFILIATED:
Sephardic Community of
Greater Detroit: meets at

Yeshivah Beth Yehudah, 15751 W.
Lincoln, Southfield. David Hazan,
vice president. 545-8945.

CT"

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