Vayeira: Attaching to Holiness
“We learn: One is permitted to save the case of the Sefer Torah together with the scroll itself, and one is permitted to save the bag of the Tefillin with the Tefillin. (The Mishnah discusses what a person is allowed to carry out of his burning house on the Sabbath). This teaches you: ‘Fortunate are the righteous ones and fortunate are those who cleave to them’. This is the case here: ‘God remembered Abraham and saved Lot’”. (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayeira #9)
Just as the case holding a sacred article attains a degree of holiness because of its content, so too those who are close to the righteous attain a degree of sanctity.
Lot’s connection to Abraham is what physically saved him from the destruction of Sodom.
In the Amidah, in the blessing of The Righteous, we ask for more. We ask that God put our lot with them forever. We are praying to be granted a higher portion in the World-To-Come by our association to the pious and to those who truly trust in God.
How can we obtain salvation or a superior reward by the mere fact of being connected to someone holy?
It seems that having a Tzaddik as a “facebook friend”, as a networking contact is not going to work.
Regarding Lot, despite the fact that he parted ways with Abraham, the Midrash teaches us: “The parable says- One who touches someone who is smeared with oil will become oily. Because Lot had associated himself with Abraham, he learned to be hospitable”.
The connection needs to be real, it has to be alive. It cannot be a superficial bond. Our actions have to reflect the impression made by our teacher. We can soar by attaching to someone greater only when we accept the responsibility that comes with such a relationship.
To take this one step further; our physical body houses our holy soul, just like the case holding the Torah scroll. One day, our soul will be able to expand fully, to express itself and purify the body that was limiting it while at the same time allowing it to gain infinite reward.
If we desire to elevate our body and have it transformed and transcended by our soul, we need to make sure now, that the connection between body and soul is strong and vibrant.