This week’s Torah Reading is Parashat Vayeira (which means, And He Appeared). The reading is Genesis 18:1-22:24. Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:
Not just in this week’s Torah portion, but throughout all of Scripture, every word is significant and is written in the way it appears for a specific reason. In other words, nothing is random in the Word of G-d, it all contains revelation. In our parashah, Sodom is destroyed. Two of the three angels that appeared to Abraham traveled to Sodom and although they had intended to spend the night in the city square, Lot implored them to stay with him. That evening Lot made a feast for them. It is most significant that the only food that is mentioned is Matzot (unleavened bread). Why just Matzah?
Both in the rabbinical writings as well as the New Covenant, Matzah has a special significance. Rav Shaul (Paul) writes,
“Your exalting is not good! Do you not know that a little leaven works through the whole lump? Therefore, Purge out the old leaven that you will be a new lump, because you are unleavened (Matzah). For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us.” I Corinthians 5:6-7
This passage informs the reader that Matzah relates to the absence of sin. Paul writes that believers are Matzah, “you are unleavened“. What Rav Shaul is teaching is that due to the redemptive work of Yeshua, the believer is purged from sin. One needs to understand this Scriptural truth in two degrees. First, a salvation experience removes one’s sin debt completely and causes the believer to be justified by G-d’s grace and enter into His Kingdom.
Second, by means of the Holy Spirit, the believer is convicted of sin in his life and HaShem moves to bring about repentance. In regard to this second degree of purging sin there is an important truth. If one will not fall under conviction and refuses to repent, be assured that as a loving Father, HaShem will discipline the believer.
In the same way that G-d does not tolerate sin in a believer, likewise HaShem will not tolerate it in an unbeliever. Although He is longsuffering and patient, there does come a time where HaShem will purge sin from the unbeliever. This is what happened in Sodom. The outcry against Sodom’s sin rose to HaShem and He descended to the city. Because Sodom had no covenantal relationship with HaShem, the purging of the sin was not a form of discipline, but utter destruction.
This is not only a sobering message for the unbeliever, but it speaks to the believer as well, in regard to the fact that the gracious G-d will not tolerate sin. On this Shabbat remember your identity as Unleavened Bread.