The Hassidic story of Sodom and Gomorrah

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho says, “Hassids are Jews, but not accepted by the orthodox Jews. There is something in Hassids which I appreciate.” From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

There is a Hassidic story…

Dancing Hassid

The story says that, when God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, one Hassid approached God and told him, “I have a few questions, and you have to answer them, because it is a question of the lives of thousands of people.”

God was willing; he said, “You can ask.”

The Hassid said, “You have decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but have you thought that there are a few people in both cities who are absolutely innocent? I know them, I am one of them. There are one hundred Hassids in both of the cities – are you going to destroy these innocent people too? They have not committed any crime. Are you ready to take this responsibility? Won’t you feel guilty?”

God said, “I have never thought about it: one hundred Hassids, innocent people… Perhaps I will have to change my decision to destroy Gomorrah and Sodom.”

The Hassid said, “I have to ask another question. For a hundred innocent people you are ready to change your decision, but in fact there are only ten Hassids. Does the quantity make any difference? Will not ten innocent people be enough to save Sodom and Gomorrah?”

God thought for a moment, and said, “You are right. It is the quality, not the quantity. Even if there are ten people who are innocent, I am not going to destroy the cities.”

The Hassid said, “I have a third question. In fact there is only me who is innocent. Six months I live in Gomorrah and six months in Sodom. Is that going to change your mind? Again it is a question of quantity: from one hundred to ten, from ten to one – the same proportion. And how can I give a guarantee for a hundred people, that they are innocent? How am I to know about ten people that they are innocent? You are asking me inhuman questions. I can absolutely guarantee one thing: that I am innocent. Now tell me what you are going to do.”

The Hassidic story says God had to concede to the Hassid – because it is the quality that matters.

Millions of criminals can be saved, but one innocent person should not be destroyed. Innocence is so valuable, it is so rare and unique.

This is a Hassidic story. It is not in the Old Testament, but it is a beautiful story.

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness – Answers to the Seekers of the Path, Ch 9, Q 2

Image credit Baruch Agadati

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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