They cannot tolerate such a thing, that God destroyed…and a God who is omnipotent, all powerful, he could have changed them – if he can create the whole world, can’t he change two cities and their sexual perversions? Has he to resort to destruction and death? He is the father of those two cities also, and when he has all the powers…this whole universe was created by him and he could not manage to change those two cities?
Hasids have changed that story and I love it, although that change is not in the Jewish scriptures. Jews will never accept that change, but I, for one, accept it. It makes a tremendous impact on anyone who can understand.
The Jewish story is:
When God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, a Hassidic mystic went to him and asked, “Have you decided?” God said, “I am absolutely certain; I am going to destroy these people completely.”
The Hassidic mystic said, “But I have a question to ask: If there are two hundred people, one hundred in each city, who are good people, who are authentically religious, who are awakened, will you still destroy those two cities? Those two hundred people will be destroyed with them. It seems you are taking too much care about the perverted and you are not taking any interest in the awakened.”
God had to think it over; the argument was significant. How can he destroy the awakened people, the spiritual people, the good people? He said, “If you can prove that there are two hundred people in those cities who are awakened, enlightened, then I will not destroy them. How can I destroy them?”
The Hassid – they are very beautiful people with a great sense of humor – the Hassid mystic said, “If I cannot prove two hundred but only twenty, are you going to destroy the twenty enlightened people in those two cities? Do numbers matter so much? Are you thinking of quality or of quantity?”
God was at a loss to argue with this man. He said, “Okay, you prove twenty.”
The Hassid said, “And if I can prove only two?”
Now God was perfectly aware that the question of quality and quantity…it does not matter whether there are two enlightened people or two hundred enlightened people, they cannot be destroyed. To destroy them is to destroy the whole base, the whole foundation of religion. God said, “Okay, okay, you prove two persons!”
The Hassid said, “In fact there is only one – but he lives six months in one city and six months in the other city. What do you think about it?” From two hundred he has come down to one.
God said, “I have understood your logic. You bring that man before me.”
He said, “I am that man. Can’t you see me? Can’t you look inside me? Are you going to destroy me? – because I live six months in Sodom and six months in Gomorrah.” And God had to concede: “In that case I will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.”