Magazine article Tikkun

Pillar of Salt

Magazine article Tikkun

Pillar of Salt

Article excerpt

Pillar of Salt

Cecil Helman is the author of The Body of Frankenstein's Monster (WW Norton, 1992) and Culture, Health and Illness (Butterworths-Heineman, 1994) among others. He is currently at work on a collection of modern midrashim.

She looked back. Just as the two angels were leading them to safety, and into the city of Zoar. The four of them fleeing: she, her husband Lot, and her two daughters. She looked back, and was turned into salt. Now everyone believes that she disobeyed. That she looked behind her out of curiosity, and was punished for it.

But say, for a moment, that she looked back for quite another reason. Out of compassion, say, and pity. And that as she looked back, she wept.

Possibly she wept for all the dying people of the flaming cities, down on the arid plain. Terrified, screaming, running here and there with their skins all afire--with not even one righteous man among them, to tell them why it was happening.

And wept not only for the doomed citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah--drowned under heavenly showers of brimstone and fire--but also for all those other ones. The ones drowned under showers of water, many generations before. …

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