The stature of Man and the dimensions of the human being are corroding away daily. The Torah tells us of the Dor Haflagah, the generation who built a tower towards heaven in order to fight with Hashem. The meforshim explain this to mean that they desired to be totally independent of Him and their goal was to receive their sustenance and life energy from their control over nature. Their punishment was that the one language that they spoke became seventy languages. No one understood what the other person was communicating to him, so the building naturally terminated.
They thought they could harness nature yet they could not even control their speech. The Pachad Yitzchak explains this punishment in a very deep way. The punishment was not merely throwing a “wrench” in the communications of man in order to disrupt the continuation of building the Tower. Man is called a Medabair for only he was created with the power of speech. By creating seventy different languages from one, it was tantamount to ripping the form of Man crowned with the title of “Medaibair” into seventy parts and sections. The original dimensions of Man have now become diminished and his once seemingly unlimited potential has been dwarfed.
The confusion of the languages displays a sign of the loss of Man’s once prestigious position in the universe in that he was the ultimate creation who now became compromised by fragmenting his Lashon Hakodesh dibbur. During the height of his stature he was known as אדם from the word adameh I will emulate my creator. After the chait he is also became known as איש גבר אנוש names that are lower in status than the crown title of Adam. Notice that the name אדם is only used in the singular in contrast to the other three compromised names which can be applied in the plural form אנשים גברים אישים. After Adam’s downfall there is the possibility of forming a community which form their own philosophies and lifestyles that may differ from the original Adam.
Today once again this same Man has become torn into fragments thereby robbing him of his or her identification with the sublime, being created in Hashem’s image. Our American and unfortunately in Israel culture as well have created a new community which has torn what’s left of man’s spiritual dimensions even smaller than before.
Now I would like to talk about Am Yisrael and the seeming correlation between us and them concerning the ripping of Man. Am Yisrael alone are called Adamאתם קרויים אדם , the fulfillment and the actualization of the Tzelem Elokim that Hashee very beginning of creation. However, we have also torn this ideal Adam into many sections. The Jewish people are composed of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionism. When we distort the Torah and Mitzvos, chas veshalom remove some part or disbelieve in Torah MeSinai, it is also tantamount to tearing our Tzuras Adam into fragments.
This has ripple repercussions in the world as well. When Hashem said נעשה אדם the lashon of let us make conveys that Hashem asked the entire cosmos to take part in Man’s creation. Therefore, if man will elevate himself, he thereby elevates the entire world with him and vice versa. The relationship that Am Yisrael has with the Torah is compared to a relationship of husband and wife as the gemarrah derives from the passukמורשה קהילת יעקב מאורסה Torah is a marriage relationship with Yisrael. Our mission is to be a light unto the nations of the world. If we distort our relationship with the Torah then it can affect the male and female relationships in the world as well. It could very well be that if Am Yisrael will cease tearing the form of the ideal Man that we portray by strictly adhering to the Torah and Mitzvos, then the gentile world will be affected at least to publicly stop tearing man and woman identities and relationships into legitimized distortions and alien mutants.
The gematriah of הוא דור ההפלגה with the three words equals אמריקא including the word. Just as the Tower of Bavel strove to remove Hashem from mankind’s existence, so too our culture has begun a movement challenging the mentioning of G-d in public statements such as the I Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, a word when transliterated in Lashon Hakodesh is פלגה from the root הפלגה. Of America אמריקא בגמטריא זה דור ההפלגה . In essence it’s a pledge to finish building the tower where Dor Haflagah left off and chase G-d out of creation.
On the other hand, we see in our days the reverse of the generation of Haflagah which at one time produced Man’s immobility resulting from the confusion of communications in foreign languages. The communications that come through telephone, cell phones, movies, internet, computers, process electronic languages which cannot be readably understood by the layman. They are therefore transformed immediately into a language that one can easily comprehend. That is the precise reason why one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of Megillah or Havdallah over an electronic device. These devices all change the human voice to an electric current or electro-magnetic waves, transmit it, and then reconstruct it back into voice. As far as Jewish Law is concerned, the Megillah must be heard read by a human voice, while in these processes, the human voice has been essentially changed and therefore is being heard only indirectly.
Another example of a reversal of the Haflaga is the United Nations. As a relic of the old Tower of Bavel, it has so many foreign languages being communicated yet there is a simultaneous translation enabling all the foreign nations to understand the contents of what has been said.
At first this modern technology and the UN seem like the tikkun of Haflagah but don’t be fooled for it is just the opposite. They are the pinnacle of Tumah that creates this incredible technology and the illusion of achdus of the United Nations, both whose sole purpose is to destroy Klal Yisrael. By Hashem’s creation of seventy languages, the plot to build a Tower and make war with Hashem was foiled. Today, with our ever advancing technology, the same tower is still being built right in front of our noses. The original Tower was to unite the world under one roof, to amass all the knowledge and manpower that existed and channel it into making war with Hashem. The internet and technology have succeeded into accomplishing just that.
Speaking about foreign languages, the parsha Mattos says לא יחל דברו כלל היוצא מפיו יעשה when one makes a neder he mustn’t profane his words and whatever he pronounced with his mouth he must fulfill. The seforim explain these words are a message to everyone. One should not profane his dibbur in any way, not to speak negative, words of hurt and anger, degrading, or lashan harah etc. for they are all foreign languages to the Jewish tongue. If he can attain such a level then ככל היוצא מפי יעשה that whatever you promise from your mouths Hashem will make sure that it will come true. Last week I read a story about a childless couple that was waiting in line to see Rav Chaim Knievsky to receive a beracha for children. The Yungerman spoke to the gabbai right before his turn and pleaded that Rav Chaim should not just give him the stam beracha of BooHa which is the acronym of ברכה והצלחה. After all this was a language that Rav Chaim himself made up. The gabai looked at him with disdain and said the BooHa of Rav Chaim is not stam (regular). Sure enough, face to face with Rav Chaim, the Yungerman was disappointed when his awaited beracha came in the form of not just one BooHa but three. Lo and behold nine months later that disappointment turned into simcha when he became the proud father of triplets.
Not Stam! I guess Rav Chaim speaks Hashem’s language even if it comes in the form of roshei taivos.
Gut Shabbos and Gut Chodesh