224. "And the two angels came to Sodom at evening..." (Beresheet 19:1). Rabbi Yosi said, Come and behold, it is written: "And Hashem went His way, as soon as He had left speaking to Abraham..." (Beresheet 18:33). As the Shechinah had departed from Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place, then "the two angels came to Sodom at evening..." There were only two angels because one had departed with the Shechinah.
225. As Lot saw them, he ran after them. Why? He invited everyone who came to his city into his house and offered them food and drink. If so, then how come the people of his own town did not kill him, as they did his daughter?
226. For what reason was she killed? The daughter of Lot offered a piece of bread to a poor man. As soon as the townspeople found out, they covered her with honey and put her on the roof until she was stung to death by bees.
228. Rabbi Yitzchak asks, Why did Lot run after the angels? As it is written, "And Lot seeing them rose up to meet them..." Either Rabbi Chizkiyah or Rabbi Yesa responded that he saw the image of Abraham among them, and the other said that he saw the Shechinah resting upon them. AND HE DREW AN ANALOGY. It is written here, "And Lot seeing them rose up to meet them," and elsewhere, "and when he saw them he ran to meet them from the tent door..." (Beresheet 18:2). So, just as he saw the Shechinah there, he saw the Shechinah here as well.
229. This is the reason why "Lot seeing them run to meet them...And he said, 'Behold now, my lords (Heb. adonai),'" spelled with Aleph, Dalet, Nun and Yud, THAT IS, THE NAME OF THE SHECHINAH. IN OUR SCRIPTURES IT IS NOT WRITTEN, 'AND HE RAN TO MEET THEM,' BUT RATHER, "ROSE UP TO MEET THEM." ACCORDING TO THE ZOHAR, THE WORDS "ROSE TO MEET THEM" MEAN THAT HE ROSE UP AND RAN TO MEET THEM. OTHERWISE, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN, 'HE ROSE UP BEFORE THEM.' The verse continues, "Turn in, I pray you." HE ASKS, WHY IS IT WRITTEN, "Turn in, I pray you," when it should have been written, 'draw near, I pray you?' What is MEANT BY "turn in?" AND HE RESPONDS, He did not want them to enter the house in the regular way, so his townspeople would not see them. This is why HE SAID, "Turn in, I pray you."
230. Rabbi Chizkiyah began the discussion by saying, IT IS WRITTEN, "For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven" (Iyov 28:24). How important it is for all human beings to observe the works of the Holy One, blessed be He, and to study Torah day and night. He who studies the Torah is glorified by the Holy One, blessed be He, on high and down below, because the Torah is the Tree of Life for all those who occupy themselves in it. It grants them life in this world and offers them life in the World to Come.
231. Come and behold, IT IS WRITTEN, "For He looks to the end of the earth" in order to supply them with food and provide for their needs. THE "EARTH" IS MALCHUT; "ENDS OF THE EARTH" REFERS TO ALL THAT ISSUES FROM HER, because it is He who takes care of Her always. As it is written, "The eyes of Hashem your Elohim are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year" (Devarim 11:12).
232. It is written of this earth, NAMELY MALCHUT, "She brings her food from afar" (Mishlei 31:14). And then, "She" provides the beasts of the fields, WHICH ARE THE ANGELS OF THE WORLDS BRIYAH, YETZIRAH, AND ASIYAH, with food and sustenance, as it is written, "She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household and a portion to her maidens" (Ibid. 15).
233. This is why IT IS WRITTEN, "For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven," ALLUDING to all the people in the world, in order to supply them with food and provisions, each and every one according to his needs, as it is written, "You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Tehilim 145:16).