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Sivan 28

May 21, 2009 | by

The Talmud elaborates on the social practices of Sodom, some of which are uncomfortably reminiscent of some current social customs.

Sodom was characterized by self-will run riot. Nothing stood in the way of gratifying a Sodomite's desires, regardless of what they were. Any barriers to gratification that might arise from guilt were eliminated by two widely practiced maneuvers: rationalization and legislation. If one had no way to justify a particular immoral or unethical act, a law was passed to legalize it. Sodom was the symbol of justified and legalized social and moral corruption.

There is one example of Sodomite rationalization - considering a particular improper act trivial and insignificant. Each Sodomite who took only one stone from the neighbor's fence told him or herself that this infraction of another person's property rights was so minor that it would hardly be noticeable. In this way, the owner's entire fence was demolished.

I once brought a letter to my grandfather which my father had intended to mail to him. My grandfather opened up his desk drawer and tore up a postage stamp saying, "We have no right to withhold revenue from the postal service that is due to them." To a person for whom pennies (and postage was three cents back then) are negligible, misappropriation of thousands of dollars may also be feasible.

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