It’s a great fable. According to the Torah,the generations after Noah lived peacefully for many years. They spoke the same language and they understood each other well.
There came a time when they decided that they wanted power and control over that which came from above. And so they determined to reach to the heights of heaven. They piled heavy bricks upon each other and they built a tower. Year after year, they built their tower into heaven, perhaps only to realize, when it was too late, the futility of their effort.
In the story, the people became obsessed with their project, so much so that when a brick would fall killing a worker beneath, the people would mourn the loss of the brick more than the one who was killed.
They built so high, but one day the great tower fell, scattering the people to lands beyond. And so there began the different nations and languages which are known in the world.
In what I believe to be an ancient fable, the people failed to realize that we reach the heavens and attain greatness in life, not by means of a tall tower or the edifices that we build. Rather, the only way of reaching so high, is to do so from within ourselves. Judaism teaches that the way to God is through performing deeds of loving-kindness and caring that bring heaven down to earth.
Yes, let us build a “tower.” But let it be one that connects our good intentions to righteous and loving deeds. And while we are building, let us build a “bridge” that further connects us to one another.
I wish you and the ones you love a Sabbath of health, love and peace.
Rabbi David Greenberg