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The Tower Of Babel

The Tower Of Babel

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Conceit of the People

It was towards the end of Peleg’s life that something happened which changed the social life of all men on earth.

After the Flood, man had again begun to multiply and fill the earth. They all spoke one language and understood one another well. The generations of people before the Flood had been interested only in themselves; they thought of themselves as supermen and lived each one for himself alone; they used violence and force against their weaker neighbors, paying no attention to laws and rules. The new generation of mankind was different. They stressed the opposite code of living. The individual did not count for himself; he counted only as part of the community, and he had to subject his own interests to those of the group. Had they confined themselves to this kind of social life, all might have been well. But they overdid it. The tremendous strength that grew out of their organization and goodwill made them proud, and their pride made them turn against G-d.

They decided to build a tower which was to reach to heaven, to make them equal to G-d, and at the same time, to make it possible for them to stay together. This symbol of their divine strength, as they thought, was to be built in the valley of the Land of Shinear.

Their Punishment

G-d decided to destroy their arrogance by destroying their ability to understand one another. He, therefore, confused the people by splitting them up into seventy different nations and tribes, each with a language of its own, (hence the name Babel, meaning “confusion”).

When this happened, the project of the Tower had to be given up. The various groups migrated in different directions and settled in all parts of the world. The Tower itself was partly burned and partly swallowed by the earth.

Nimrod

But even this severe punishment did not bring the people back to the ways of G-d. During the time of Nimrod, who was the grandson of Ham, the wickedness of the people increased tremendously. Nimrod had inherited the clothes of Adam, made out of the skin of the Serpent, and he was unconquerable. All the animals of the world obeyed him and kings recognized his rule. He proclaimed himself god, and images of his face were shown all over the country. People had to serve him and bring him offerings.

It was in this age of idolatry that a new star appeared on the horizon-the only shining star in a dark sky.

From Our People by Jacob Isaacs published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society 1946-1948
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Discussion (6)
May 18, 2014
Are you sure you meant to say this?
"The individual did not count for himself; he counted only as part of the community, and he had to subject his own interests to those of the group. Had they confined themselves to this kind of social life, all might have been well." I don't believe that is true or that is Judaism, particularly not American Judaism. There has to be a balance betweenvaluing the individual and valuing the community. Thank you.
Paul (Yaakov)
Philadelphia PA
February 21, 2014
"c. According the Midrash, Nimrod derived his strength from Adam’s clothing which he had in his possession. Since his strength was not due to physique but to the clothing, his age had no bearing on his power."

Magic clothes? really?
Anonymous
August 22, 2013
Was Nemrod nephilim of Genesis (6:4) ?
Anonymous
-, Cartersville,Ga
February 28, 2012
nimrod bad man
Hey, Thanks for writing this article, I needed a reliable explanation.
yaakov
October 3, 2008
RE: Nimrod
While one would indeed have expected Nimrod to be irrelevant by the time Abraham came onto the scene, there are a few factors which come into play here:

a. The average lifespan in those days was much longer than it is today, with the oldest people pushing 1,000 years!
b. They did not age as we do. Instead, many people were hale and hardy until their last day. For this reason, even a very old Nimrod would be as influential as ever.
c. According the Midrash, Nimrod derived his strength from Adam’s clothing which he had in his possession. Since his strength was not due to physique but to the clothing, his age had no bearing on his power.
Menachem Posner for Chabad.org
September 30, 2008
Nimrod
Nimrod would be dead before Abram(Abraham) was born. Nimrod was the third generation from Noah, Abraham was the tenth generation. Even if Nimrod did survive to see Abraham grow to an adult, Nimrod would be a very old man and the people of Shinar would have several new rulers by Abraham's generation, effectively making Nimrod quite useless with exception for being the central figure of a widespread folktale.
Anonymous
Phoeniix, AZ, USA
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