As it is written: הפרד נא מעלי Hipared na me-alai, “Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me”[1]. Avraham knew that his nephew Lot was evil. He had an unstable character that could not be redeemed. In fact, the gematria of the reshei tevot (הנמ) is 95, the same numerical value of פחז pachaz, “unstable”[2]. Lot failed to admonish his herdsmen, he wanted to give away his daughters in Sodom, and ultimately because of his drinking he had illicit relations with them. Therefore, Avraham thought with his great wisdom how to rid himself of this rasha, who was thwarting his path to perfect himself. This is hinted in the gematria of הפרד נא מעלי being 490, the same numerical value of תמים tamim, “perfect”, as if to say: “Leave, so I can be perfect with G-d”[3]. He then proceeded saying: הלא כל-הארץ לפניך “Is not the whole land before you?”[4]. The pasuk’s gematria hides Avraham’s feeling about Lot, for its numerical value is 572. And this is the same gematria as ברשע Birsha[5], the name of the evil king of Gomorrah, which means “with wickedness/iniquity”. So, the verse can be understood as if saying: “You, who is filled with iniquity, see what is there for you!”[6]. Now, when Avraham then said אם-השמאל ואימנה ואם-הימין ואשמאילה “If you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left”, he was gracefully suggesting a way out for Lot, so as to be free from this evil. Beyond the pshat, this is also hinted in the gematria albam of this pasuk’s reshei tevot (אהווהו) being 410, the same numerical value as דרור dror, “freedom”. More specifically, this is the “freedom not to be under the domain of others and to dwell wherever one sees fit”[7]. Thus, Avraham spoke in a manner suggesting Lot’s freedom from his “stifling” ways. Truly, righteousness was a domain not fit to have Lot nearby, for while being close to Avraham, the rasha derived spiritual nourishing from him. This was so, because in order to exist, every form of evil must cling and derive its sustenance from some form of kedusha, of which it is a fallen and corrupted version. However, he had to convince Lot to voluntarily separate from him, for otherwise he could have insisted in remaining at his side to continue deriving material and spiritual benefits. More so, since the patriarch had gone to Eretz Israel, and only there he could arouse the supernal unions of Z’eir Anpin and Nukva, it became imperative that Lot part from him now, to avoid hindering Avraham’s new spiritual heights[8] and the beneficence to be brought to the world through these holy unions. Continuing, Lot then looked up וירא את-כל-ככר הירדן Vayar et-kol-kikar haYarden, “And beheld all the plain of the Jordan[9]. The gematria atbash of the reshei tevot (אתלרן) is 433. This is the same numerical value as גלת galut[10], “exile”, and משפחה mishpacha, “family”. And what did Lot see? Since his uncle’s path was already discarded from his heart, he then chose the “other” (evil) path, as he consulted his idols[11]. And so they fooled him[12] into seeing two futures: one, with the harshness of exile yet rich in material possibilities, and another, with the wellbeing of building a family and its rewards. He then decided to take his chances and go to the East. Now, in doing so he completely rejected the ways of Hashem taught by his uncle and mentor Avraham. A hint to that, the ordinal gematria of ויסע לוט מקדם Vayisa Lot mikedem, “And Lot journeyed east”[13] and the gematria absolute of מלחמה milchamah, “war/conflict” have both the same numerical value of 123. Moreover, the word mi-kedem, “from the East” is equivalent to mi-Kadmono, “[distancing] from the Ancient One”[14]. Ultimately, he met his ill fate[15] finding both futures, to wit, galut through his family[16]. And so Lot was no more[17] in the Torah.


[1] Bereshit 13:9, Lech Lecha. This was a moment of great tension as hinted in the verse’s ordinal gematria being 112, the same numerical value as יבק Yabok, the river symbolizing the struggle of good and evil (Bereshit 32:25).

[2] As in פחז כמים pachaz k’mayim, “unstable as waters” (Bereshit 49:4).

[3] Later echoed as התהלך לפני והיה תמים “Walk before Me, and be perfect” (Bereshit 17:1).

[4] Ibid. Bereshit.

[5] Bereshit 14:2.

[6] Similarly, “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him who does not know Kel/G-d” (Job 18:21).

[7] Rashi on Vayikra 25:10.

[8] There are other issues which are beyond the scope of this text. See the Ari”zal, Sefer HaLikutim, Lech Lecha.

[9] Bereshit 13:10.

[10] This word is spelled haser, “defective” (without the letter Vav).

[11] See Zohar 84a, Lech Lecha.

[12] See Jeremiah 10:14.

[13] Bereshit 13:11.

[14] Ibid. Zohar. In fact, Lot’s journey towards the East is a code to his desire to further his knowledge of sorcery and witchcraft. This is hinted in the Zohar, which says: “It was said that those who teach sorcery to men are found in the east mountains. And from the east country came לבן Lavan,  ובעורBeor,  ובלעם בנוhis son Bila’am and all the sorceress” (133b. Chayei Sarah). The gematria of ובלעם בנו ובעור לבן is 572, incredibly, the same as ברשע Birsha, the evil king of Gomorrah, as before mentioned in association with Lot. And its reshei tevot is לווב, which with the kolel has gematria 45, that being the same numerical value as לוט Lot.

[15] We could say he had a “taste” of his idol’s falsehood, as a tzeruf/anagram of the sofei tevot (semantically meaning, “at the end of the matter”) of Vayisa Lot mikedem spells טעם taam, “taste”.

[16] Referring to the illicit relationships with his two daughters (Bereshit 19:32).

[17] Save for his name being referenced in parashat Devarim, chapter 2, verses 9 and 19.


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