Rashi to Genesis 19:2 said that Lot called the angels his masters because:

"וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּה נָּא־אֲדֹנַי סוּרוּ נָא אֶל־בֵּית עַבְדְּכֶם וְלִינוּ וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּם וַהֲלַכְתֶּם לְדַרְכְּכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹּא כִּי בָרְחוֹב נָלִין׃"

"הנה נא אדני. הִנֵּה נָא אַתֶּם אֲדוֹנִים לִי אַחַר שֶׁעֲבַרְתֶּם עָלַי."

Behold now you are my lords since you have passed by me.

What does he mean?
How does someone become a lord by passing another?
Please elaborate.

  • That's how seriously even Lot, who was no Abraham, took hospitality. A simple passer-by was his "master". Oct 23, 2018 at 16:01
  • @JoshK how can i understand that?, what does that mean, is it just a figure of speech?
    – hazoriz
    Oct 23, 2018 at 16:03
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    Yes, @hazoriz, in the end it's just another way of saying "I am your faithful servant" i.e. you are an honored guest. Oct 23, 2018 at 16:14
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    Please note that Lot uses אדני as an unholy name (with Patach, not Komotz), referring to them as real humans flesh and bones, but Abraham said Adonoy (with Komotz) stressing that he was addressing the Shechinah. That makes things much simpler (as JoshK mentioned) - once the people passed by he felt obligated to serve them.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 23, 2018 at 17:13
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    @hazoriz What's "that"? Serving people is not considered idolatry AFAIK
    – Al Berko
    Oct 24, 2018 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


Rashi is saying that the usage of the expression 'Na' (נא) has a connotation of something that is occurring in the present. And so the meaning is, 'You are Lords presently, since you have passed by me.'

This would be in contrast to another usage of 'Na' as a request, like in 'please'.

They take on this status of someone that Lot should serve, because they passed by his house. Lot was merely expressing his politeness and hospitality toward the strangers, similar to Avraham.

'Lordship', like in Lords and Ladies of the Kings court, are people that a person of lower status serves. Lot learned this type of behavior (humility) from Avraham when they were together. It was part of providing hospitality. Avraham would use the hospitality to feed people and then get them to make blessings on the food.

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    +1 but i do not see how this answers my question
    – hazoriz
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:01
  • In other words please expound on " Lot was merely expressing his politeness and hospitality toward the strangers, similar to Avraham"
    – hazoriz
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:07
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    @hazoriz On what are you basing that idea? A polite host tries to see to every need of their guests. Anything they desire or request is provided freely. In a similar, but unrelated fashion, a Jewish King is a servant of his subjects. The King is in a state of absolute humility (Anavut). And yet, they are still the King. Oct 23, 2018 at 18:28
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    @hazoriz The “attitude” is what ‘you’ are seeing. Traditional advice given to us all would be, ‘Remove the ‘you’, and the original (correct) intention will speak clearly to you.’ Oct 24, 2018 at 0:58
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    @hazoriz In keeping with the spirit that “כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה”, I would point you to several of the links in the answer from JoshK. You could also reflect upon the long blessing from ברכות השחר which opens with ‘Baruch’ & closes with ‘Baruch’ and has the 2 Yehi Ratzon’s between. That enumerates how we are to interact with others and how we are to behave ourselves. Oct 24, 2018 at 13:28

The Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Shabbat p.127a) argues, based on the incident just prior to this one in Parashat Vayera (the same three angels' encounter with Abraham Aveinu), that providing guests with proper hospitality is of greater merit even than receiving Hashem himself:

Rav Yehuda said that Rav said on a related note: Hospitality toward guests is greater than receiving the Divine Presence, as when Abraham invited his guests it is written: “And he said: Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please pass not from Your servant” (Genesis 18:3). Abraham requested that God, the Divine Presence, wait for him while he tended to his guests appropriately.

(Translation Sefaria)

I would also recommend reading this excellent article on Hidabroot.com posted on Vayera, stating:

By writing the whole incident in full in the Torah, God wanted to reveal to us a great principle: The importance of being hospitable to a bunch of heathen idolaters is greater than receiving the presence of God Himself!

We therefore see that one should treat even random passersby, regardless of their religion, as lords, i.e. offer them hospitality and act as their "servants" and that this is so important Hashem is happy if you take leave of Him to do so.

  • +1 but this does not answer my question
    – hazoriz
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:48
  • I've made the inference more explicit, @hazoriz, do you feel it answers your question now? Oct 24, 2018 at 1:09
  • (The opinion that your bring from Shabbat holds that the "lords" was reffuring to G-d and not the guests sefaria.org/Shevuot.35b.10 but he does refure to himself as their slave) i do not see a logical inference maybe just providing them with hospitality and not treating them as lords (by the way what does that mean?) is enough
    – hazoriz
    Oct 24, 2018 at 1:33
  • @hazoriz I think you are getting hung up on the term "lord" which is being used as a figure of speech as it is throughout Tanakh. "I am your faithful servant" or "You are my lord" when used to refer to humans are just polite forms of address. The story of Channah randomly comes to mind- she was not, in fact, actually on Eli the Priest's payroll as a servant! sefaria.org/topics/Hannah?lang=bi Oct 24, 2018 at 1:48
  • you are probobly right about me being "hung up" that is why i asked this question, but i guess all jews are servents to their king (no payroll nessesery) a heigh preist might be simular. (another place sefaria.org/Genesis.32.4-13 but there it might be becouse he respected asovs strength...)
    – hazoriz
    Oct 24, 2018 at 2:13

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