by Rabbi Yaakov Menken
"And G-d said, 'Behold, they are one people with one language for all of
them, and this is what they have begun to do; now will nothing be beyond
them, to do anything they plan to do?'" [11:6]
Even after the destruction caused by the Flood, there was no guarantee that
people would devote their efforts to improving the world and to knowing
their Creator. They were able to band together to do just the opposite - to
According to the verse above, their greatest advantage lay in their unity
and ability to communicate. Because they all spoke the same language and
were convinced by Nimrod to follow his leadership, there was no
disagreement. The Sforno explains that "nothing would prevent them from
completing whatever they intended to do, all people acting upon their
united decision, and not one of them would turn aside to know G-d or to
understand that He was the Creator of all."
The Chofetz Chaim sees in this the great power of unity and Shalom, peace.
Without Divine intervention, nothing could stop them from doing whatever
they wished to do - because they did it together. Because they were one
nation with one language, nothing stopped their idolatry and their rebellion.
We know that any attribute used for good is more powerful than when used
for evil, "Midah Tovah Merubah MiMidah Poraniyos." If so, says the Chofetz
Chaim, it is impossible to imagine what it would be possible for us to
achieve in the true service of G-d - were Israel only united and willing to
serve HaShem "with one mind." Just think what we could accomplish, if we
would only do it together!
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