Parashah Noah - TOWER OF BABEL

October 24, 2009

         

  1. Rashi raises the question: Whose sin was greater - the generation of the Flood, which did not rebel against God, or the generation of the Dispersion (of the Tower of Babel), which did rebel? 

    The Flood generation were robbers and nasty to one another; they were all destroyed.  The Babel generation cooperated with one another and worked together, and although rebellious received the lesser of punishment of dispersion.

  2. What is the "rebellion?"  Not merely arrogance, but the refusal to obey the commandment to "fill the earth" in Gen 1:28 - the full verse is Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.  Fill the earth means spread out and be close to the earth.  Babel was a dense city and tower, and grew up rather than out.

  3. The city and tower also reflect centralized control that is disfavored by the Bible.  Country living with its shepherding and farming activities is valued more than developed cities.

  4. There is an interesting excerpt from Accepting the Yoke of Heaven by Yeshayahu Liebowitz.  He says that a situation in which everyone speaks the same language and are all focused on one purpose sounds appealing, but is really a form of totalitarianism.  Everyone had to conform to the one cause, and no difference of opinion was tolerated.

God disfavored this, and forced the people to be dispersed and speak different languages.  So people became diverse, and a world of complete unity can not be established - until Messiah comes.

 

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