By: Herschel Karp (10th)
In this week’s Torah Portion, Parsha Vayeira, Hashem told Avraham that he would be destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Avraham immediately came to the aid of the people and began to bargain on their behalf. He started by asking Hashem if He would spare the city if there were 50 righteous people, to which Hashem said that, even though he would, there weren’t enough righteous people. Avraham then tried lowering the number to 45, 40, then 30, and eventually all the way down to ten. All of these attempts to save the city rendered the same response: Hashem agreed in principle with the idea, however, there lacked the sufficient amount of righteous inhabitants requested by Avraham.
From afar, this story seems to be solely an exchange between Avraham and Hashem, however, upon closer examination, Avraham’s negotiations serve to teach an important lesson that can be applied to our everyday lives. When Avraham started off, he used a large number because he was unsure as to how many righteous people would be required to save the city. Once he realized that Hashem agreed with the idea, he felt comfortable making additional requests until he brought it down to ten people.
The mistake most often made when setting goals is the focus on the larger picture. In order to attain such lofty heights, smaller milestones must be achieved along the way. For example, someone who sets a goal for themselves to lose 50 pounds will most likely not be successful because their goal is too far removed from where they are at the moment. However, were they to attempt such a task in increments of five pounds, an easily attainable goal, they will encounter more success in their efforts. Without these vital “bite sized” targets along the way, we are more likely to give up and become frustrated and disappointed.
We learn from Avraham’s attempt at saving the city that by having smaller and easier goals, one can achieve their ultimate goal and nothing is out of reach.