October 21st, 2020

Rabbi Dunner discusses the strange episode in Noach known as ‘The Tower of Babel’. Recorded in just 9 verses, the traditional version of the story seems at odds with the plain understanding of the text, and whatever way you look at the story, it makes very little sense.

What was the sin of those who built the Tower? In fact, the word sin is never mentioned, so who says they sinned at all? Why would God have taken any notice of a bunch of clowns trying to reach ‘heaven’ via a tower? And what is the relevance of the single language they spoke at the beginning of the story, and the multiple languages they spoke at the end of the story?

These questions, and many others, have vexed the commentators, resulting in multiple explanations.

Rabbi Dunner surveys various Midrashim, and looks at some of the medieval rabbinic sources, as well as Abarbanel and Haamek Davar, to discover how this story reveals exactly how God wanted humanity to unfold at the very dawn of human history.


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