Pillar of Salt

I have the privilege of studying with a wonderful teacher for many years. He has a few favorite observations to which he returns from time to time.

One of these is that the only person in the Torah who ever looked back in nostalgia, was Lot’s wife.  She, as we know, turned into a pillar of salt. The point he wants to make is that when we long to replicate an earlier, “more perfect” era as we choose the path of our own lives, we lose our vitality and our dynamism. Worse, we abandon the role we are given, which is to live and grapple with the times and environment in which we find ourselves.

In moments of difficulty following divorce – which there inevitably are, whether for financial, emotional, social reasons – there is sometimes a tendency to look back in nostalgia, to long for something that may or may not have actually been there.

In yet another of her wonderful poems, Dr. Bayla Shorr has written of this, and this time, I have even attempted an English translation.

The poem is particularly apt this week, since in the Torah reading on this Shabbat, we read Parshat Va’Era (Genesis 18:1-22:24), in which the story of Lot’s family and the destruction of Sdom are described.

Here I Am


I am not a sister to the wife of Lot

I will not look


I will not cry

Until I become

A pillar of salt

And in Hebrew:



אינני אחות

לאשת לוט

לא אביט


לא אבכה

עד שאהיה

עמוד מלח

Shabbat shalom

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One Response to Pillar of Salt

  1. rahel says:

    This was a powerful entry, Esther! Thank you for the Torah… Gertrude Stein wrote a short story about moving forward… a couple left their homeland and the husband was prone to sadness and nostalgia The wife went forward but periodically returned to sit by him… until he too was able to go on with his future. We all have different paces but we need to move…
    love from me..

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