At that time, all the earth spoke one language, and was united in speech.
As they journeyed from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar,
and settled there ... Then they said, "Let's build a city, with a tower
whose top will reach into Heaven." (Bereishis 11:1-4)
Some things never change. Since man first left the Garden of Eden, he has
developed a nasty practice of cutting off his nose to spite his face. It is
simply amazing how much long-term damage people are prepared to cause
themselves in order to reap some short-term benefit, and they are doing so
today as much as ever before.
The question is, are they consciously aware that they are doing it? If yes,
then they are liable. If not, then the degree of liability may be greatly
reduced, but not completely, for like most people, they probably choose not
to take advantage of opportunities to become more aware of who they are and
how they live their lives, hoping instead that ignorance is the same as
It is not. If this week's parshah teaches us anything at all, it is just the
opposite, or close to it, since everyone involved in the building of the
Tower of Bavel was punished, even the people who contributed just to build a
very tall tower, and not to challenge God. This should (but won't) serve as
a warning for anyone who shares Professor Steven Hawking's belief and
outlook about God's role, or lack thereof, in the Creation process.
But, why use all of that God-given genius to remove God from the picture
when just as much can be accomplished, if not more, by not dealing with the
God issue? Removing God from the Creation-equation is spiritually-reckless,
and it certainly does not make the math any more valid than if He remains in
it. Indeed, if anything, a Godless world weakens the overall equation of
existence, as the people of Bavel eventually found out the hard way, and
more than likely, we will too.
Often, you will find, perhaps very deep down, after you strip away all the
genius and professionalism, that the God-challenger harbors some kind of
anger and resentment towards God, perhaps for something negative that has
happened in his life which he feels was unjustified (in Hawking's case,
given his health situation, this is not hard to understand). Using his
theories to `disprove' God is often a way of `getting back at Him,' or at
least a way of venting resentment, while at the same time randomizing his
experience to neutralize the agonizing question of, "Why me?"
After all, how can one study our universe, no matter how big it is, and
conclude that he understands enough to deal God out of the game? It's like
an art analyst drawing final conclusions about the entire world of art from
the paintings of a single gallery: no matter how clever and talented the
analyst is, there are so many other galleries he has yet to even discover!
But, that is the risk people take when they are in need of a desired outcome.
Sometimes the attack against God is not so direct. Instead of challenging
God directly, as Nimrod and his cronies did in their time, it is only a war
against truth. They falsify facts to suit their needs and desires, and they
consciously choose to ignore inconvenient truths that rock their
psychological boats. But, like a king who feels attacked when his nobles are
attacked, God takes it personally when His truths are trampled.
An example of this was in last week's Internet edition of CNN.
Imagine seeing a picture in a newspaper of hardened criminals playing soccer
with the caption, "No Real Place To Play." Would you feel sympathy, or
anger? Would you decide to fight for the right of the criminals to play
soccer in a regular league like everyone else, or become disgusted that the
article even suggested that they be treated the same way as well-behaved
Yet, CNN did the exact same thing about three weeks ago, when it showed
Palestinians playing soccer next to the wall designed to keep them from
sneaking into Israel and murdering innocent Jewish civilians. The article
chose to ignore the fact that all of them, if asked, "Would you prefer to
see the Israeli state wiped off the face of the earth?" would answer yes,
and would probably participate in the bloody attack without hesitation.
"But," the Leftist would argue, "that is because of how they have been
mistreated by the Israelis!"
Inconveniently for the Leftist, history does not concur. For, polls have
been conducted, some by Arabs themselves, that show how the hatred of Arabs
for Jews and the Jewish State would continue (and probably even intensify),
even if all of their demands would be met (A State Beyond The Pale; Robin
Shepherd). Indeed, even though Gaza was given over to the Arabs, they
quickly turned into a breeding ground for terrorists and a base to attack
But, instead, the anti-Israel proponents, including Jews like Goldstein,
continue to blame Israel for all of the Palestinian problems, regardless of
who created them.
What's my point? My point is that before we simply read this week's parshah
and move onto Lech-Lecha, we should really take stock of what the Tower of
Bavel meant in its time, so that we can appreciate what it means in our
time, which is a lot more than people think. How many people even give it a
Hence, this is why so many people are repeating history in such a dramatic
and destructive manner. We're living in a world right now in which what is
different is considered comparable, and what is comparable is considered
different. Nazi treatment of the Jews is compared today to Jewish treatment
of the Palestinians, when they are in fact worlds apart for so many reasons.
But, the West's treatment of Israel, which is a modern-day version of
ancient blood-libels is seen as a heroic attempt to subdue an `oppressive'
Israeli force while liberating its Palestinian `captives.'
Rashi, on Chumash, explains that when the nations of the world challenge the
Jewish people, they in fact challenge God. They would like to think that
they are doing it on behalf of God, with His full support. For example, the
Crusades sought to liberate Jerusalem on behalf of God, just as the Arabs do
so today on behalf of their version of God as well, each of them ruthlessly
murdering innocent victims along their way.
However, checking it out, it is clear that in each case, the truth had to be
distorted to justify the wars that they waged. In retrospect, there is
nothing to be proud about the Crusades. Rather, they were simply brutal and
barbarous attacks on millions of innocent people who wanted nothing more
than to survive from day-to-day through the work of their own hands.
Likewise, today, the Muslim religion is the biggest imposition on the world
in the history of mankind. The demands its adherants make on others, the
threat they have created around the world, and the countless deaths they
have perpetrated in the name of Islam is staggering, and they have only just
begun. For, like the Nazis during the 1930s, and with whom they
collaborated, the Muslim world has been quietly building towards world
domination, doing whatever they feel is necessary against any non-Muslim to
accomplish their long-term goal of a completely Muslim world.
But cross them in any way, and they respond with anything from death threats
to actual execution.
And, they routinely distort the truth with the blessing of the Koran, as do
others who take up their cause. Therefore, like other crusading religions
before them, their belief system, at least the fanatical side of it is an
affront to truth, as so much literature recently has tried to make clear.
Therefore, though they claim to fight on behalf of God, they are really
fighting against Him, by living a life of denial.
In the book, "A State Beyond The Pale," Robin Shepherd does a thorough job
of showing how the West's war against Israel is just a function of the same
way of thinking. Their support of the Arab world against the Jewish people,
and specifically against the State of Israel, is just a function of their
greater desire to have the world their way, as was the case with Nimrod and
the tower-builders of his time. And, when people like Avraham Avinu stand in
their way, representing God's truth, then they are targeted for extermination.
Likewise, the Jewish people have always been the bearers of the Torah, the
word of God. Yes, we make plenty of mistakes and yes, we have been subject
to corruption like the rest of the nations. However, for the most part, the
nation has maintained a certain level of moral integrity, and we certainly
have never been marauders driven by an imperialistic desire to rule the world.
Even the modern state, in spite of its secular bent, was voted into
existence in 1948, and immediately tried to make peace with the Arabs who
were stuck on destroying every last Jew living on the land. In fact, not one
war since, and there have been many, has been initiated by the Jewish
people, being in defense against an Arab attack. And, any land that has been
annexed, such as the West Bank, has been the consequence of such
As Mr. Shepherd points out, it is simply mind-boggling what scholars and
intellectuals have been prepared to falsify or distort, just to maintain
their attack on the Israeli state. So, even if the government remains
secular, and they do not see themselves as fighting on behalf of God or His
Torah, they still represent certain fundamental truths, and fighting against
them becomes a war against God as well.
Anytime someone fights against truth, they fight against God. It can be on
the level of the individual, a nation, or even international, but the result
is the same: a challenge to God. As such, though God does not get
intimidated by such challenges, He does become disgusted by them, and as in
the case of the generation of the tower, He takes action against the
God descended to see the city and the tower that the people had made.
God said, "They are one nation with one language, and they do this! Now
nothing will be stop them from what they set out to do. Come, let us go down
and confound their language, so that one person will not be able to
understand the language of the other." (Bereishis 11:5-7)
And, He will do so again in our day as well. First, He will allow the Muslim
world to wreak their havoc on the West, to teach the West a lesson about the
making of unholy alliances, especially against His people. And then, He will
end off history with the War of Gog and Magog, to reveal and then overcome
all the liars of history, those who dared to look Truth in the face and mock it.
Judging by the pace at which events are occurring in that direction, I would
say that it is a good time to choose sides, and to make sure that the one
you choose is the one that the God Himself endorses.
Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org.