This is a series for the bar/bat mitzvah parent on quick, concise and meaningful messages from the weekly Torah portion. They’re messages appropriate for any background – and appropriate to give in a speech to your young man or woman embarking on a journey through the teenage years.


Lot was Abraham’s nephew. He came with him from Aram to the land of Canaan, stayed with him for a while, and then decided to leave home. He moved to Sodom, a nice little town where selfishness was the name of the game. No giving, no sharing, no hosting guests, no charity – punishable by death. Robin Hood would have been public enemy number one.

A society that corrupt has no place in the world, G-d said, and He sent angels to destroy Sodom. The angels came in the guise of men, wanderers who happened to be traveling through Sodom. Was this a place where anyone was going to offer them a bite to eat and a place to lay their heads? Don’t think so.

Except – someone did. Lot. He tried to keep it a secret so he wouldn’t get blasted by the rest of the citizenry (which didn’t work), but he came over and VOLUNTEERED his home to them.

Why? He knew the penalty he could pay. They hadn’t even approached him and asked for help? Why did he put himself out at that price?

Lot had grown up in Abraham’s home. Hospitality and giving was Abraham’s middle name. So even when Lot chose to move to a depraved place, even when he knew what it could cost him to extend hospitality to the two travelers, the values he had absorbed in his youth moved him to act.

As a new bar/bat mitzvah, you’re still living in your parents’ home. But in a short time, you’ll be on your own, building your own life and home. You don’t have to build in a vacuum, though. You’ve had a model for certain values, things your parents emphasized and lived in their daily life. Take those positive values with you. Use them to give you strength and do the right thing, no matter where you are.