Dreamer's Refuge

A Student of Sense and Nonsense

Tohu wa-bhohu

“The people of Sodom were very evil and sinful to G-d.

Genesis 13:13

The souls of the people of Sodom originated from the realm of tohu. That explains why they were isolationists, wishing neither to benefit anyone nor to receive from anyone. In this way their land was isolated from all other lands, and they managed their own resources so that they didn’t need to receive any goods from any foreign land. Even amongst themselves, each one was isolated and independent.

Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch

Sodom in this interpretation is a nation that is wholly isolated and individualistic. Tohu means chaos in esoteric terms. And in that view the West has reached this level. It’s a state where communal bonds have broken down, and people are only out for themselves.

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 Rabbi Isaac Luria describes tohu as a state of isolated ideals.

Without form, if we use the Socratic/Plutonic concept would mean without the human archetype, i.e soulless. Empty, spiritually speaking.

Sodom and Gomorrah have come to represent the epitome of evil. After all, G‑d destroyed them with fire and brimstone. But, perhaps surprisingly, the Talmud does not associate Sodom principally with idolatry, murder, sexual impropriety, thievery, or even corrupt business practices.

Rather, the Talmud uses the term middat S’dom (roughly translated as “a Sodomite attitude”) to describe an extreme form of isolationism.  A classic example:

Joe owns a large tract of land that is not in use and that he doesn’t wish to lease. One day he discovers that some homeless individual is camping out on it. So he tells him to get off. The homeless individual takes him to a Jewish court. The court says to him, “Your fellow citizen gains and you lose nothing. Do you have a problem with that?”

Joe answers, “It’s my property. I want him out.”

Joe is infected with a Sodomite attitude. The Talmud even discusses whether the homeless camper can ask the court to prevent Joe from throwing him out—because the Torah says, “You must do that which is good and upright.”2 What Joe is doing, in Talmudic eyes, is pure evil.

Chabad

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