Noach: Coming Apart, Coming Together

“And the entire land were of one language, and the same words” (Breisheet 11:1). What a beautiful description of a world at peace! A world in which people are speaking the same language, literally and figuratively, and pursuing similar goals sounds almost like Gan Eden. Yet apparently, G-d did not approve. “From the place, G-d scattered them all over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city” (v.8). While the Torah does not specify any actual sin by the builders of the tower—nor is it easy to detect what exactly they did wrong—something was amiss.

Shushan Purim: United People, Divided Holiday

“And Haman said to King Achashverosh: There is a certain nation scattered and divided amongst the nations” (3:8). Haman was well aware of the Achilles heel of the Jewish nation, the divisiveness that so often characterizes our community. As a small nation, lacking (at that time) a homeland, such unity is much more crucial for our survival than for that of other nations. When we are divided, we are weak; and when we are weak, we are vulnerable. Haman could thus request that, “if it pleases the king, let it be written to destroy them”.
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