Kenneth Cohen

Lot’s Obsession With Money

The story of the saving of Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gemorra carries with it an important message. It demonstrates Lot’s weakness and obsession with money.

His motivation in choosing Sodom in the first place was mainly for financial reasons. He had a great amount of sheep and he needed a place that was fertile so that his flock would thrive.

One explanation why Lot’s wife looked back as the cities were being destroyed is that it was difficult for her to part from her possessions.

When the angels told Lot to hurry and get out of that place, the Torah uses the word, ויתמהמה, that he hesitated. The note on this word is a שלשלת. There are only four times that this note is sung in the whole Torah. It clearly emphasizes this hesitation. Rashi says it was because he had pity on his money.

This shows how foolish and overly attached they are to their money and possessions. There was a situation of life and death, and survival, and there still was hesitation.

The Mussar books speak of the foolishness of people who believe that their money is their security. The Rabbis speak of how money can be a blessing, a curse, or a test. One must remind himself that the only security we have, is our faith in Hashem. Money can come out of nowhere and can easily be lost. But Hashem never forsakes those who trust in Him.

In many circles, success is judged by how much money he earns. There is emphasis on getting a good education so that one can earn a good living. Sadly, when this is the emphasis, and young people are not taught the importance of good character traits, and faith in G-d, they may not turn out so well.

A life of materialism and comfort, will not make a person happy. It is his ability to give to others, and living a spiritual life, that brings peace of mind.

Lot is not remembered in a positive way at all. His obsession with his possessions prevented him from achieving very much. We must learn from his mistakes.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at