Noach: Why Build A Tower?

Enforcing Conformity

In Torah portion Noach, the descendants of Noah start building a tower “with its top in the heavens” to battle God. What exactly is their plan? The Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, 1816-1893) explains that they heard that the Great Flood was caused by people doing whatever they wanted. They concluded that corruption came from individuality and the solution was for everybody to behave exactly the same. The tower was built so that watchmen could look down on humanity and make sure nobody was marching to the beat of a different drum. 

To end this arrogant effort to enforce conformity, “the Lord confused the language of the entire earth, and from there the Lord scattered them upon the face of the entire earth.” (Gen. 11:9) God didn’t create us to be identical clones; rather He made every one of us different, and we each have our own unique gift to share with the world.

Image: The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563

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