Thursday, November 13, 2003

Vayera #3: Salt and the City

The malachim tell Lot and family not to look back at Sodom. Lot's wife looks back.
The pasuk tells us Bereishit 19:26

וַתַּבֵּט אִשְׁתּוֹ, מֵאַחֲרָיו; וַתְּהִי, נְצִיב מֶלַח.
"But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

Rabbi Levi ben Gershon (Ralbag) suggests that וַתְּהִי does not refer to Lot's wife, that *she* became a pillar of salt, be rather וַתְּהִי refers to the *city*, which is a feminine noun, so Lot's wife looked back and saw that the city had become a pillar of salt, which was a way of saying it was destroyed.

Of course, we would then have to explain where Lot's wife is in the next story with Lot's daughters. Perhaps she was arrested for assault.


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

RLB"G's suggestion: brilliant.
your joke: whorrible.


joshua said...

I'm looking for the actual quote of the Ralbag. would you have the mareh makom?

joshwaxman said...

sure. see here:

but you need the djvu plugin for it.

here is an image of it:

and here is the text:
והנה כאשר זרחה השמש בא לוט לצוער ובהיותו שם הוריד השם על ידי נביאיו בדרך פלא אצל סדום ועמורה גפרית ואש בבטן הארץ ההיא בדרך שנהפכו הערים האלה וכל הככר וכל יושבי הערים וצמח הארץ לא נשאר דבר. והנה הביטה אשת לוט מאחריו ונספת עמהם והיתה אז הארץ ההיא כמו נציב מלח לחזק השרפה אשר היתה שם

although he also says a bit later that of course, Lot's wife also did not survive, because of her delay, which is why we don't see her in the subsequent narrative.

kol tuv,


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