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Don't Look Back

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Vayeira (Genesis 18-22 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

Don’t get stuck in the past.

We've all made mistakes and bad decisions in life and unfortunately we sometimes have a problem getting those mistakes out of our system. This week, the Torah warns us that looking back and focusing too much on the past can result in spiritual and physical stagnation.

Lot's family was warned not to look back when they leave the city of Sodom, a city that was being destroyed for its total lack of morality (Gen 19:17). Instead of focusing on the past, they needed to focus primarily on the future.

Lot's wife ignored the warning and looked back. As a consequence she was turned into a "pillar of salt." Salt is the ultimate preservative; she is essentially mummified -- frozen into the same position for all of eternity, never able to grow or change.

A person needs to be able to admit to his failings, make amends, roll his sleeves up, and start over. To focus any more than necessary on the past will inhibit the opportunities presented to us to maximize our potential and move forward into the future. King Solomon says it all when he teaches, "A bad person will fall once and never again get up, whereas a righteous person will fall seven times and get up again each and every time."

(Based on the teachings of Rav Avigdor Miller)



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