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    Abraham & the Tower of Babel – No’ach

    Tower of Babel, by Pieter Brueghel, 1563

    So many well-known stories punctuate the Torah readings at this time of year. They include, of course, the Tower of Babel and the Abraham saga.

    Hardly anyone asks, however, if there is any connection between the two, between Abraham and Babel.

    Rashi (following the earlier sources) is sure there was.

    Utilising the Midrash B’reshit Rabbah (64:4), Rashi tells us that when the Tower was built, Abraham was 48, mature enough to know what he was doing.

    Says the Midrash: Abraham did not take part in the Babel conspiracy, and it was at this stage that he was confirmed in his commitment to God.

    The men of that generation who banded together to storm the heavens and unseat the Almighty were motivated not merely by defiance of God but by human arrogance and ambition.

    Long pre-dating Lord Acton, Abraham knew the truth of Acton’s saying, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

    The pursuit of power by Abraham’s generation gave them a heady sense of exhilaration, but it totally corrupted their thinking. The higher they climbed, the harder they fell.

    Abraham could have no part in the plan. Further, he, who had long before, as a child, sensed that there had to be a God, was now more convinced than ever.

    The Abraham who pre-dated Lord Acton also pre-dated the modernist dethronement of God and the elevation of man to the Divine pedestal.

    From Abraham we can learn that however strong and clever is man, God is the Supreme King of Kings, and to Him every man is answerable.

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