174. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold, it is written, "And there was strife (Heb. riv) between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle." The word riv is spelled Resh Bet without the letter Yud, which means that Lot wanted to return to idol worshipping, which was the custom of the natives. Thus, at the end of the verse, it is written, "and the Canaan and the Perizi dwelt then in the land." THIS TEACHES US THAT LOT WANTED TO WORSHIP IDOLS AS THEY DID. AND THE REASON WHY IT GIVES RIV WITHOUT A YUD IS TO POINT TOWARD IDOL WORSHIP. IT FOLLOWS THE SECRET FOUND IN THE VERSE, "AND THE ELDER (HEB. RAV) SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER" (BERESHEET 25:23). ESAU SAID TO JACOB, "I HAVE ENOUGH (HEB. RAV - RESH BET)" (BERESHEET 33:9), BUT JACOB SAID TO HIM, "AND BECAUSE I HAVE ALL (HEB. KOL)" (BERESHEET 25:11). THIS IS ALSO THE SECRET OF THE VERSE, "AND A MIXED MULTITUDE (HEB. EREV RAV) WENT UP ALSO WITH THEM" (SHEMOT 12:38).
175. How do we know that Lot reverted to his evil ways of idolatry? We know it from the verse, "and Lot journeyed from the east (namely, from yore)" (Beresheet 13:11). And what is the meaning of "yore?" It means from Him - He who is more ancient than the world. And thus it is written, "and Lot journeyed from the east," and "it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east" (Beresheet 11:1). So, because there they journeyed away from Him - He who is more ancient than the world -- it means the same thing here!
176. As soon as Abraham realized that Lot had reverted TO IDOLATRY, he spoke to him, "And Abraham said to Lot, separate yourself, I pray you, from me" (Beresheet 13:8-9) - you are not worthy of associating with me. So Abraham separated from him and did not want to travel with or deal him any more, because whoever accompanies a wicked person shall eventually follow in his steps and be punished because of him.
177. How do we know this? We know this from Yehoshafat, who associated with Ahab. And had it not been for the merit of his ancestors, Yehoshafat would have been punished because of Ahab. As it is written, "but Yehoshafat cried out..." (II Divrei Hayamim 18:31). Then he was saved, as it is written, "and Elohim moved them to depart from him" (Ibid.).
178. Although Abraham did not want to travel with Lot, Lot still did not want to return from his evil ways. As it is written, "Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed from the east" (Beresheet 13:11), WHICH MEANS THAT he "journeyed away" from Him - He who is more ancient than the world -- and refused to adhere to the true complete Faith, as did Abraham.
179. THE LAND OF CANAAN IS THE SECRET OF THE NUKVA, AND, AND IT IS WRITTEN, "Abraham dwelt in the land of Canaan" IN ORDER to cleave to the place of the Faith, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE NUKVA, and to attain knowledge about the Wisdom of his Master. Lot, however, "dwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom," WHICH MEANS THAT he became associated with the wicked of the world, who departed from the Faith. They are described by the verse, "But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and great sinners before Hashem." Each one departed and went his own way, ABRAHAM TO THE PATH OF HOLINESS, AND LOT TO THE WICKED. Because of this, happy are those friends, who study Torah day and night, as they cleave to the Holy One, blessed be He. THEY DO AS ABRAHAM DID, AND NOT AS LOT. Of them it is written, "But you that did cleave to Hashem your Elohim are alive every one of you this day" (Devarim 4:4).