Abraham as an advocate


 This source sheet is based on questions written by Hillel and Panim. In addition to exploring the text with the suggested discussion questions, participants should also answer: - If you were in a position of being able to speak out and challenge an authority figure, would you do it? Imagine that you are in a class in which the teacher continually picks on a classmate of yours, even ridiculing that person in public. You, on the other hand, have avoided this teacher’s wrath. Could you imagine yourself challenging the teacher? - Abraham speaking out on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorah is in great contrast with his silence several chapters later when commanded to slay his son Isaac. Do you think it is sometimes easier to speak out on behalf of those far away than those who are close to you? Why? - Had Abraham succeeded in finding ten righteous people to save the city, he would have also saved many more people who were not innocent. Can you think of a scenario where you would speak out for a principle even though the beneficiaries of your advocacy were people you would not want to help? - Is Abraham a realistic role model for you and your friends?

-------- GENESIS 18:20-25 ---------------------------------------------------- Translation Original And the Lord said, "The cry of Sodom and Gomorah has become great, and their sin is grave. I will go down and see whether their actions altogether match their cries that have reached me. (i.e. if things are as bad as they sound) If not, I will know..." And Abraham approached [God] and said, "Will You destroy the righteous with the wicked? Perhaps there are fifty righteous men in the midst of the city. Will You even destroy and not forgive the place for the sake of the fifty righteous men who are in its midst? Far be it from You to do a thing such as this, to put to death the righteous with the wicked so that the righteous should be like the wicked. Far be it from You! Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice?" [Translation by Hillel and Panim] וַיֹּאמֶר יְקֹוָק זַעֲקַת סְדֹם וַעֲמֹרָה כִּי רָבָּה וְחַטָּאתָם כִּי כָבְדָה מְאֹד: וַיִּפְנוּ מִשָּׁם הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ סְדֹמָה וְאַבְרָהָם עוֹדֶנּוּ עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי יְקֹוָק:וַיִּפְנוּ מִשָּׁם הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ סְדֹמָה וְאַבְרָהָם עוֹדֶנּוּ עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי יְקֹוָק:אוּלַי יֵשׁ חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה וְלֹא תִשָּׂא לַמָּקוֹם לְמַעַן חֲמִשִּׁים הַצַּדִּיקִם אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבָּהּ:חָלִלָה לְּךָ מֵעֲשֹׂת כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְהָמִית צַדִּיק עִם רָשָׁע וְהָיָה כַצַּדִּיק כָּרָשָׁע חָלִלָה לָּךְ הֲשֹׁפֵט כָּל הָאָרֶץ לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט: .... Suggested Discussion Questions 1. What did God plan to do? Was it just or not? 2. How did Abraham respond? Why? 3. How can this text serve as a model of advocacy and social action?