Moody Mondays and critical thinking about Biblical (im)migration as part of Health Care for all?

Mental and emotional Health Care, that is…

This excerpt from my first practice novel comes as a response to a discussion about the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and G’morrah, from an ancient Rabbinical point of view (at least from one of the prevailing opinions). I incorporated part of this midrash (an allegorical or story-based explanation of the Biblical text that often seems rather fanciful) into my 2012 work, in which one can readily see which characters represent which Biblical personages, I imagine (clearly more anti-info-dump editing was needed, but I beg you, good Readers, to forgive me for the moment, and read the essence of the text…)

Here is the original post (Cities of the Plain: Torture in Sodom as anti-immigration policy):


from my “Creator: Friend or Foe?” practice-novel series based on Midrashim which I began as a sort of stream-of-consciousness NaNo novel…

Cities of the Plain

“So you are back, Young Light Bearer. To what do we owe the honor of this visit? Come to renew hostilities?”

“No, you are quite good enough at that yourself. I am here to bring a certain set of cities in a low-lying plain to your attention, since you seem not to have noticed. Down in the valley between that lovely nearly inland sea and the two rivers.”

Not wanting to seem out of touch with his creations, the Ancient warrior asked, expecting her not to know of the other civilization:

”Do you refer to the two rivers with the valley which is watered by the large platteau, between the rivers and the largest ocean, on the eastern side?”

“No, as you know very well, I refer to the smaller town-states in the western set of cities the human beings are developing. The ones from which you must be getting growing numbers of reports of the lawlessness they are instituting.”

-”Lawlessness? On the contrary, they are doing quite well with the legal institutions on the western side of that platteau. They have independent kingdoms which are making cooperative alliances, you should like that, and developing more individually than their eastern counterparts, who are building their civilizations more along communal lines, putting their people in a situation requiring them to go along with the group or risk being the nail that sticks up and must be hammered down. What could be so bad about allowing each person his freedom, withing the set of laws they all have to obey? You yourself as I recall seemed to advocate some such system, no?”

“How dare you, you Ancient Hypocrite, turn my words against me. Listen, this city is taking individual freedom way too far, letting people do whatever they want to those who are not part of their group, and severely abusing their guests, whom they know they ought to be respecting. These laws you seem to admire that they are passing are requiring things which make a mockery of legal protections, like the law that says that any guest in the town must fit in a bed of a standard size, and be comfortable in that bed.”

”And what objection do you have to making a guest comfortable, pray tell?”

“You really have not been keeping up with all of the reports, have you? Their idea of comfort is to ensure that each guest fits the bed by placing shorter guests on the rack, to stretch the body until it is long enough, and dead enough, to fit the bed, or doing their taller guests the favor of amputating both feet, and the legs, inch by painful inch, until the formerly tall guests is short enough to fit comfortably as you say, in the bed. All quite lawful, and all quite dangerous. If this type of behavior spreads, then eventually both of the developing sets of civilizations, west and east, will eventually come to legalize such crimes against outsiders, possibly even requiring every citizen of the town, as a new law now proposes there, to personally involve himself in torturing any guest allowed into the town borders. They think that this tactic will frighten all strangers away from visiting, spying out, and potentially attacking their towns, and that is how their so called Town Fathers are coercing the population into passing this new law. The torture can be inflicted on the stranger even if that stranger is a guest of an inhabitant of the town, and is especially recommended to take the form of rape, in the case of male visitors to the town, in order to reduce the stranger´s social status to that of a slave so that he can never lead an army against them. That is if any strangers to the town survive their visits at all.”

”Well, this has not been in my reports. So the proposed laws must not have taken effect yet. If they are using sexuality as a torture tool now, then I will investigate…”

Interrupting the ”which part of this did you miss in the reports from the first newly born human man?”  He was doing it back then already! Why else do you think his sister, whom you allowed to take as his so-called wife, ended up reviving the Virgin thought-form?”

”But this is different, this is a legally instituted form of sexual torture specifically meant to prevent my code of hospitality from being practiced! That is wrong!”

”Oh, yes, it is wrong when your precious laws are used to torture a man, but not when a man tortures his so-called wife in the privacy of his own home! You Great Hypocrite! This experiment should be ended for the sake of all of our decency, both yours and mine and theirs. These human beings are getting to be almost as bad now, as immoral, torturing maiming and killing as they were before that fortuitous Great Death they had a short while ago. This needs to stop now before all of the human beings are required by law to torture one another, or shall we say before the strong are required to torture the weak, in the name of your developing legal system and your precious non-interference.”

”Yes, you are quite right, I must go down and see about this. I will consult with some humans on the ground there, and as you can see you are not the only one to have taken a human being for a friend. I have my own friend there with whom I shall consult, note. If this is so, then I will take steps to remedy the situation.”

”Be sure you do, because if you do not, then I will be sure to have it taken care of in some other appropriate manner.”

Perplexed, the Ancient Warrior sent for the Light Bearer through one of the supervising guardians:

“How could this have happened, that not even one native or long term resident of the city was good? Not all could have developed this way, surely. What went wrong, that only the recent visitor newly taken up residence was able to be saved, and that not even with the woman he married from the town. How did it come to this? Even my friend argued that there must have been at least 10 decent people in the city. This is inconceivable.”

“It happens with places like this, concentrated power and wealth attracts a certain type of person, keeping them there, building up a culture of competition and dominance. After a while,” the Light Bearer replied,

“When a culture of a place becomes the norm, however wrong, over time, it is taken as immutable. There are simply too many ingrained patterns, too many people of power setting the standard, too many people accepting the status quo, unable to reverse the dominant culture. After a while, even the kind people, who want to do good, come to believe that things cannot be changed. So many of the residents, such a high proportion of the policy and trend setters are so callous that the very culture of the city, the standards of kindness and hospitality, upon which morality is built, are set so low that even the smallest kindness becomes a great burden in the eyes of all those who have been raised or lived for a long time in that place. Callousness becomes so natural that it is taken for granted, and a small gesture of good will is first suspect, then taken for granted, then seen as weakness, and the standards of living become set in what appears normal, even right. When everyone around you was killing, Ancient Warrior, was it not natural to kill? When all whom you know are brutal, does not kindness seem to be weak, or foolish?” the Light Bearer paused, awaiting the acknowledgment of his experience before continuing, “So it was with this place, so influential that all of the towns around it took on the same culture of mean-spirited, callous rushing around, a constant hurry to do first one thing, then another, to keep up with all that had to be done, lest their lives fall into the constantly threatening calamity of debt and powerlessness, in a place where the vulnerable had neither food to eat nor a place to live. The fear became pervasive, even for those who were relatively well-off. In the end, even those who wanted to be kind, believed themselves to be good people, in the end behaved with cruelty. However kind in their eyes, by other standards, more universal standards, they were cruel, but they could not see things that way, and in the end, not knowing any differently, with the standard of kindness at so low a level, even ended up defending the system under which they lived. When that was what they were taught to be good and practical, they could not believe in any other way, and thus sealed their doom.”

(Hopefully some insights may be gleaned from it, if anyone is interested.)


Universal Date: Tuesday, October 3. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)


So, I meant to use the midrash about Sodom having been condemned because of their mistreatment of travelers, upon the famous bed which one size was made to fit all either using a hack saw or the rack, as an analogy for our treatment of immigrants. I’m not sure I managed it, but I am curious to hear your thoughts, dear Readers. 




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10 thoughts on “Moody Mondays and critical thinking about Biblical (im)migration as part of Health Care for all?

  1. Nicely done. A lot of food for thought there. I was always taught the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was about hospitality to the foreigner and not about sexuality. People tend to see what they want to see. This was a nice expansion on the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Patti. I really appreciate your reading and chewing on this story, very much. I grew up being taught that the story was about the evil of being gay, and in the DC area, as MD was debating same-sex marriage, sat at table at the church of one of my cousins while everyone there agreed on the sinfulness of the “Sodom and Gomorrah Law,” as I made an excuse to leave. I was ashamed not to speak out, but also afraid.
      So I wrote this story, as a very poor apology for keeping my silence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow, now I can really see how my craft has progressed: this is awful, and I can see how stilted the dialogue is when compared to Ann & Anna, or to Standing in The Gap, my more recent work.

        Liked by 3 people

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