Maintaining Independence

A great deal is learned from the dialogue between the King of Sodom, and Avraham Avinu. Avraham has liberated Sodom with an incredible war victory. The king apparently wished to offer a generous reward to Avraham for his efforts. He could have made him extremely wealthy by taking the spoils of war. Avraham declined this offer.

He was trying to teach a lesson to future generations in terms of how to deal with our Gentile neighbors. Before accepting gifts from them, one must be very careful to see what the ramifications are, of such gifts.

If they are able to use these gifts as a means to control us, and make us beholden to them, we must retain our independence.

Abraham declared that he was not willing to have the King of Sodom brag that he was the one who made Avraham a rich man. The price of accepting this token generosity, would cost much more in the long run.

This message also applies to us on a personal level. We must do our best to retain our independence, so that we are only subservient to Hashem, and nobody else. This can apply to our relationship with family members or our employer. Before we accept financial offers, we need to see if there are strings attached. Avraham taught us that we must take great care, so that our pure connection with G-d is not obstructed.

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