Here’s a fascinating story that took place in Berlin.
It was before anyone could dream of what would happen in Germany.
One of the greatest Torah scholars of Eastern Europe was visiting Berlin.
And was invited to speak at a yeshiva.
The Rabbi spoke to the rabbinical students in Berlin about today’s story.
… Abraham leaves the area of Sodom and stops in a Philistine city.
And he introduces his wife Sarah as his sister.
It seems that in the pagan world, a woman traveling with her husband was in danger.
The husband might be killed and the wife taken.
But sometimes there was a hesitancy to violate a single woman. A virgin.
So sister sounded like a better idea.
And in case we think that Abraham was paranoid?
The king hears about this new woman in town and has Sarah brought to his palace!
… G-d speaks to the king and tells him that Sarah is a married woman.
And he better not touch her. And better let her free.
The king is furious at Abraham for “deceiving him.”
For not telling him that she was a married woman!
“What have you done to us? What did you see that you did such a thing!”
“Because I said, but there is no fear of G-d in this place.
And they will kill me because of my wife!”
…The Rabbi suggested the following.
The king talks to Abraham with righteous indignation.
“Do you think we’re a bunch of barbarians? That you had to suspect us.
Look around you.
This is a “modern” society.
How dare you think of us as “primitive!”
And Abraham responds.
“You’re right. This place does seem very impressive.
But if there is no fear of G-d?
I have to be afraid.”
… Then the Rabbi said something amazing to the Yeshiva students.
“I know that you look around you and see wonderful things.
Science. And art. And culture.
And Jewish tradition values these things.
But don’t be enamored with it.
Because if there is no concept of G-d?
Even Germans can become murderers!”
… And we have the diary of one of the students that was there.
He writes, “I was offended by what the great Rabbi said.
A “cloistered” Eastern European Rabbi telling us that Germans could become murderers?
… But it wasn’t too long until we saw how perceptive this great Rabbi was!”
All the best,