I have told you the ancient story in the Old Testament – but that will not help today, the situation is so different. In the Old Testament there is a story about two big cities almost the same size as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The names of those two cities were Sodom and Gomorrah. The people of those two cities had become so perverted, they were doing all kinds of unnatural, psychopathological actions. Their sexuality had totally gone astray. Those two places must have been the California of the Old Testament.
The story is that God tried hard to change those people. But to change anyone is a difficult task, even for a god – because the very idea that somebody is trying to change you creates a resistance, even if the change is for your good, even if there is no vested interest for the person who is trying to change you. But the very idea that somebody is trying to change you creates an unconscious resistance not to change.
Finally, God gave up the idea and decided to destroy those two cities because their very existence was dangerous. They could spread all their diseases to the whole of humanity. Sodom was so perverted that people were making love to animals; hence the word sodomy. Gomorrah had gone completely homosexual; heterosexuality had completely stopped. According to the Old Testament, God destroyed those two cities completely; but there is another version from Hassid mystics.
Judaism has produced one of the most essential lines of mystics, the Hassids. The orthodox Jews don’t accept them – the orthodox can never accept the religious. But every organized religion has produced, on the margin, a rebellious group which is not organized, which has different interpretations and a different style of life. Hassidism is one of the most beautiful ways to find oneself and to find the reality of existence.
The Hassids have a different version because they cannot accept God destroying two cities; there must be some way to save them. Their story is that when God became determined to destroy them, one Hassid approached God and asked him one question: “You are going to destroy these two great cities, but have you ever wondered that there may be, in both cities, two hundred good people? They will also be destroyed, and this will not be a good precedent. Just for the sake of those two hundred, you have to change your decision.”
God thought for a moment and he said, “I never looked at this side. Certainly there may be good people and they will be destroyed with the bad. No, if you can prove that there are two hundred good people, I will not destroy those two cities.”
The Hassid said, “But suppose there are not two hundred, but only twenty – ten in each city. Will you destroy those good people? Does quantity mean so much to you, and not quality? What does it matter whether there are two hundred good people or twenty good people?”
God had to concede to the argument of the Hassid. He said, “Of course. Prove that there are twenty good people.”