Here’s a Jewish perspective.
The Torah gives us a glimpse into the decadence of Sodom. (Genesis, 19:1-5)
Lot, Abraham’s nephew, has two guests in his home.
And after he feeds them, the trouble starts.
Word goes around that there are strangers in town!
“The people of Sodom” surround the house.
Not just a few “rotten apples.”
“Young and old. All the people of Sodom.”
They wanted the guests handed over.
So they could violate them sexually!
… It’s no surprise that Sodom has gone down in infamy!
And if you would ask most people, “Sodom. What comes to mind?”
Their answer? Sexual immorality.
Especially if they have read their Bible.
And, of course, that’s true.
… But it’s fascinating to see what Jewish tradition emphasizes.
If you would ask a Jewish Day School student the same question?
“Sodom. What comes to mind”?
The answer would be different.
Because in Jewish tradition, Sodom is notorious for something else.
What? Sodom is the symbol of selfishness.
Having a guest was against the law!
And there’s something else.
They didn’t give tzedakah! No charity!
… Many people think that you’re a good person if you don’t hurt anyone else.
And don’t take anything that’s not yours.
But Judaism says, that’s not good.
We would call that pareve!
In a Kosher kitchen, pareve means not meat and not dairy.
Here it means, not bad but not good!
… In order to be considered good?
We need to give to others.
To do acts of kindness. And give tzedakah.
… In Hebrew, what does tzedakah mean?
It means justice. Charity is not going beyond the call of duty.
It’s being just.
And not giving charity is being unjust!