In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Lech Lecha, the Torah states (14:12), “And they took Lot and his possessions, the nephew of Avram, and they left.” This is grammatically awkward; would it not have made more sense for the Torah to write, “And they took Lot, the nephew of Avram, and his possessions, and they left?” What does the Torah come to teach us with the odd formulation of this Pasuk?
Rav Shimon Schwab gives a very insightful answer to this question. He writes that Lot started out in this week’s Parsha as a Tzadik. He was Avram’s top student, and felt a very strong connection with Hashem and His Torah. However, somewhere during this week’s Parsha, Lot moved from the righteous path to the path of the wicked. This transition is hinted to in 13:14: “And God spoke to Avraham after Lot departed company from him.” This “departure of company” comes to teach us that Lot had at that point left the righteous path. However, one must ask: what prompted Lot to leave Avraham and his teachings? How could a person go from being the top disciple of a great Tzadik to becoming a Rasha?
Rav Schwab suggests an answer from 14:12, quoted above. When the Torah writes the words “and they took Lot” next to “and his possessions,” it teaches us that the difference between Lot and Avraham was the connection of each to his belongings. Although Avraham was very rich, his belongings were not important to him. Rather, Hashem and his Torah alone were important to Avraham. This was not the case for Lot, who felt a greater connection to his belongings and wealth than to Hashem. The separation between Lot and living up to his potential as “the nephew of Avram” was the phrase that came in the middle, “his possessions.”
We must learn a very important lesson from Lot. One must not act like Lot and find his belongings and money to be more important to him than Hashem. We must work hard to differentiate between what is truly important and what is unimportant. Keeping the Torah and fulfilling the Mitzvot are very important and must be made very high priorities, while attainment of wealth is much less important. We must work hard not to fall into the trap that Lot fell into; rather, we must work hard to keep the Torah and its teachings above all else.
-Adapted by a Dvar Torah by Rabbi Yissocher Frand