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It was ten generations after the Great Flood.

"Vayihi Kol Ha’aretz Safa Achas U’dvarim Achadim"

And the whole land was of one language and spoke of one thing.

Mankind was united, united against G-d. They plotted to build a towering skyscraper and rise up to challenge G-d in His heavens.

"Vayomru Ish El Ray’eyhu, Hava Nilvena Levainim"

And man said to his friend, let us construct bricks.

We can question, why did the Torah see fit to include this seemingly unimportant proposal? Obviously, one of the tasks in building a tower is constructing bricks.

The reason this detail is included is to help us understand the development of their misguided philosophy. They preached that man should develop his powers so that he should be self sufficient - able to exist without G-d’s help. G-d created stones, a natural building material. So, to demonstrate their philosophy, that they were not dependent on any G-d given sources, they proclaimed, "let us construct bricks." They were saying, "We can manage on our own. We don’t need G-d’s assistance." Or so they thought.

This mindset, which was manifested in the manufacture of bricks, served as the breeding ground for their rebellion against G-d.

In current times, knowledge is reaching new and undreamed of heights. Science and technology are advancing at a breathtaking speed. Man is a superior creature, able to do anything he wishes, go anyplace he desires. He can even use his powers to create new variations of life. This state of affairs can cause a person to think that they are not dependent on nature. On the contrary, they can control and conquer it. Within such a climate it is easy to forget and even reject the guiding hand of G-d which is enabling all of our modern-day wonders to be discovered and implemented. It is easy to get carried away with the tide of technology and the comfort that it provides. It is easy to become confident in the strength and might of our hands. However, with a bit of contemplation one can see that these very same developments can help to confirm the existence of G-d’s guiding hand in history. The pace of modern technology is truly amazing and it highly unlikely for it to have occurred without a Guiding Hand. Just a brief glance back at the twentieth century can prove this.

Let us not allow our minds to stray and think that we are almighty and omnipotent. Let us remember that though we are creating ‘bricks’, the source of our materials is Hashem.

"When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars that You have set in place. What is frail man that You should remember him, and the son of mortal man that You should be mindful of him? … Hashem, our Master, how mighty is Your name throughout the earth!" (Psalms 8, translation from The Artscroll Tehillim)

  • Sources: Lekach Tov, from HaIsh al Hachoma, Ta’am Vada’as.

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
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