But he (Lot) tarried, and the men took hold of his hand and his wife’s hand, and the hand of his two daughters, out of the Hashem’s pity for him, and they took him out and placed him outside the city. (Bereshis 19:16)
Why did Lot merit to be saved from the destruction of Sodom? Some of the commentators point out it was because Lot remained silent. Avraham went to Egypt and said that his wife, Sara, was his sister. Lot knew that this was not 100% true, but he remained silent. He didn’t ‘spill the beans’. When you think about it, what he did was a small thing. It was not very difficult on his part. It did not cost him any money. It did not take much effort. But it gave him a great reward: a longer life.
Small things can do great things for us.
In the 1930s, there was a Rabbi who walked every day and passed a police officer on his walk. And every day he said, “Good morning, Officer” and the police officer replied, “Good morning, Rabbi”. Well, a few years went by and, as we know, the situation in Europe got much worse. This Rabbi was taken on a train. He was an older man and realized he was probably going to be sent immediately to the gas chamber. He had his head down until he came up to the guard who was directing the Jews on which way to go. When he looked up, he saw it was the police officer. He smiled as he always did and said, “Good morning, Officer”. The officer looked up and was surprised to see the Rabbi. He then pointed his stick to the side for the work camp.
Sometimes we think we need to do all of the big mitzvos because they are what is important. They are important, but so are the small mitzvos. Appropriate silence and greeting others are small mitzvos but they can save our lives.
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