And There Was Strife between the Herdsmen of Abram’s Cattle and the Herdsmen of Lot’s Cattle

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174) “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle.” “Strife” is written without a Yod [in Hebrew], indicating that Lot wished to return to the idol worship that the dwellers of the land were worshipping. The end of the verse proves it, for it writes, “And the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.” This shows that Lot wished to idol worship, like them. And the reason why it writes “Strife” without a Yod is to indicate to idolatry, as it is written, “And the elder shall serve the younger.” Also, Esau said to Jacob, “I have enough,” and Jacob told him, “I have everything.” And so it is, and the mixed multitude rose with them.

175) Where did he hear that Lot relapsed into idolatry? It is written, “And Lot journeyed from Kedem [east],” from the Kadmon [primordial] of the world.

176) Since Abraham knew that Lot’s heart had gone after idolatry, promptly, “And Abram said unto Lot, ‘Separate yourself from me,’” you are unfit for bonding with me. Then Abraham parted from him and no longer wished to go and bond with him, since anyone who bonds with a wicked will end up following him and will be punished because of him.

178) This is why Abraham did not wish to go with Lot. And for this reason, Lot did not wish to repent from his sin. Rather, as it is written, “So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed from Kedem.” This means that he went from the east of the world and did not wish to cling to complete faith as did Abraham.

179) “Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan.” The land of Canaan is the Nukva. He “Sat in the land of Canaan” to cling to the place of faith, in the Nukva, and to know his Master’s wisdom. “And Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom.” This means that he bonded with the wicked in the world, who departed from faith, and of whom it is written, “Now the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinners against the Lord.” Each parted to his own way and was fit for him—Abraham for Kedusha [holiness] and Lot for the wicked of the world.

This is the reason why the friends are happy, for they engage in Torah day and night and their bonding is with the Creator, since they do as Abraham did and not as Lot did. It is written abut them, “And you that cleave unto the Lord your God are alive everyone of you this day.”

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