Israel’s Oldest and Greatest Museum

What is the purpose of having a Holocaust Museum? Why do we build a place like Yad Vashem? Mostly, it is to remind people of the evil that was committed so that humanity learns a lesson from the history and never let it happen again.

There is a museum (figuratively) in Israel that speaks to us from almost 4000 years ago. No, it’s not the Kotel, that is only 2200 years old! I’m talking about the Dead Sea.

Hashem destroyed the Dead sea in such a way that it remains a lesson and monument that speaks to us until today.The Torah tells us that the Dead Sea area was inhabited by Sodom and Gomorrah. The area was the most fertile land in Israel “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the Garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10).” Sodom was the most luxurious, wealthy and naturally irrigated area in Israel. It had Beverly Hills’ prosperity with the best natural conditions one could ask for.

Unfortunately, the people of Sodom took all that wealth and success and created the most selfish, immoral society possible with it. They created a constitution that forbade helping any stranger in need with penalty of death! The motto of Sodom was (according to our Rabbis) “What’s mine is mine and yours is yours”. Life was about how much you collected, not what you did with it. In other words, they became incredibly spoiled and self centered from being on “easy street”.

Hashem created destruction so powerful that four thousand years later, nature hasn’t recovered. It is still the Dead Sea (contrast that to the speed that the Gulf of Mexico has been cleaning itself of the oil spill) totally barren and dead! That was and is a monument to speak to the Jewish people in Israel “Look where unbridled materialism ends up. Look what happens when you take the blessings of Hashem and think that they for you only!

Unfortunately, the danger of Sodom life still exists. It is easy for a person to think that their luxuries in life are more important than helping others and sharing. “Charity begins at home” is a very easy phrase to abuse. It is probably not referring to one’s winter home in Vail.

It is Ok to enjoy the blessing Hashem gives us as long as we remain aware of the lessons on Sodom and make sure we don’t become spoiled and selfish in the process. 

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