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Friday, October 16

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

Rashi (11:1) gives two possible explanations as to what the plan was of the generation of the dispersion in building the Tower of Bavel. The second interpretation is that they said, "Once every 1656 years the sky caves in. (The flood was in the year 1656.) Let us build a support so it doesn't  happen again." This rationale is quite startling. The dispersion occurred in 1996. The next predicted flood would not be until 3312. That is another 1316 years. I find it hard to accept that they took upon themselves this entire project solely for the purpose of their kids and grandkids. They must have felt that they would suffer through this destruction themselves. So why were they looking so far ahead into a future? Nobody had ever lived that long.

I propose an approach which does not have any actual support but nevertheless seems possible given the facts we are provided in the pesukim. If we examine all the men mentioned after the flood and their respective life spans, we will find that not one of them died before the dispersion. Perhaps the generation of the dispersion did not have an understanding of natural death. It is possible that they did not see anyone die and therefore, believed that the only time people die is when the heavens fall and the world gets wiped out. Thus, they thought they would indeed be alive at the time of the next forecasted flood and were determined to stop it. If  they could prevent the next global destruction then perhaps they would live forever.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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