I can’t believe this could ever happen! Most of us have been saying these words again and again over the past few weeks. We couldn’t believe that Hamas could be so depraved as they massacred so many. We can’t believe how people are turning on Israel and defending Hamas after what just happened. We can’t believe that Jews all over the world are feeling unsafe in democratic countries.
Why can’t we believe this could happen? It is because human nature is such that we tend to think that things will continue more or less as they are, and there won’t be any dramatic changes. We have difficulty imagining a reality other than what we are experiencing at the present time. Yet we are continuously proven wrong. Sometimes change is slow and sometimes it is dramatic, but it is rare, if not impossible, that our circumstances stay the same forever.
In this week’s Parsha Vayera, Hashem sends two angels to destroy the city of Sodom and save Lot and his family. They warn Lot of the impending catastrophe and tell him to take his family and flee. When Lot tells his sons-in-law what Hashem is planning to do, they did not take him seriously. The Torah says he was like a jester in their eyes. The Midrash explains that they said to Lot – look around you, the city is filled with laughter and song, how can you say it will be overturned? They did not say we don’t believe in Hashem or that He could not do this. They did believe in Hashem and His ability to destroy the city. But in their view, it was still impossible for it to happen. The reason why they could not believe Lot’s warning was because when they looked around, everybody was having a good time and things were going great. It is not believable that all of this could be destroyed in an instant.
This applies for the opposite as well. When things look terrible, we have difficulty believing that it will get better. When someone is depressed, they cannot imagine things will ever get better. We look around us and we feel things are getting worse. How will it ever get better? The answer is that everything can change in an instant. “The salvation of Hashem is in the blink of an eye”. Just because something is the way it is now does not mean it cannot change in a moment. Hashem has the ability to overturn Sodom in an instant and He has the ability to bring us redemption in an instant. We have the ability to help make that happen. When we pray and when we perform Mitzvos, we are letting Hashem know that we are deserving of His blessings. As we head into this special Shabbos of the worldwide Shabbos project, let us all make an extra effort to make our Shabbos a little more meaningful, be a little more careful in what we do and don’t do on Shabbos. In the merit of our Mitzvos and our unity as a people, may Hashem bring victory to the Jewish people, the return of the hostages and peace to the land.