Erev Shabbat Kodesh
And its outcome...
Bereishit 11.1-9:And yet, in our day, when another Nimrod and his co-conspirators have arisen once again, this record serves another very important purpose.
...The whole earth was of one language and of common purpose. And it came to pass, when they migrated from the east they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them in fire." And the brick served them as stone, and the bitumen served them as mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed across the whole earth."
Hashem descended to look at the city and tower which the sons of man built, and Hashem said, "Behold, they are one people with one language for all, and this they begin to do! And now, should it not be withheld from them all they propose to do? Come, let us descend and there confuse their language, that they should not understand one another's language."
And Hashem dispersed them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because it was there that Hashem confused the language of the whole earth, and from there Hashem scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The Tower of Babel and the Dispersion: Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim states that a fundamental principle of the Torah is that the universe was created ex nihilo, and Adam was the forerunner of the human race. Since the human race was later dispersed over all the earth, and divided into different families speaking very dissimilar languages, people might come to doubt that they could all have originated from one person. Therefore the Torah records the genealogy of the nations, why they were dispersed, and the cause of the formation of different languages.
The year of the narrative is 1996 from Creation, 340 years after the Flood. Noah and his children were still alive at the time, and Abraham, 48 years old, had already recognized his Creator (Seder Olam). All the national families were concentrated in present-day Iraq (Bavel] and and they all spoke one language, the Holy Tongue (Rashi), the language with which the world was created (Mizrachi).
All the ingredients for greatness were there; the nations were united, they were in a central location, they spoke the Holy Tongue, and - if they desired guidance in achieving holiness - they had Noah, Shem, and Abraham among them. Instead, as happens so often in human history, they chose to ignore their spiritual advantages and turn to their opportunities for self-aggrandizement and power. It seems ludicrous that people who had first-hand evidence of the Flood could have found grounds to rationalize a way of by-passing God's control of events, but such is man's capacity for self-deception that he can negate reality and build substance around a vacuum.
According to the Sages, Nimrod was the primary force behind this rebellion. He planned to build a tower ascending to Heaven and, from it, wage war against God. But though the Midrashim perceive sinister and idolatrous motives in this plan, the verses do not reveal the evil motives of the conspirators. As for the memory of the Flood - which should have frightened them from confronting God - the builders of the tower rationalized that such an upheaval occurs every 1656 years, so that they had nothing to fear from Divine intervention for another 1316 years, by which time they would have waged their "war" against God and won.
...It may be that the actual construction of the city and tower were not sins, but that they would have led to sins that the Torah does not spell out. That is why [it] speaks of what they propose to do (HaK'sav V'HaKabbalah). Indeed, Malbim contends that the actual sins that may have been committed were secondary. The primary importance of the incident was that it resulted in the dispersion of the families and the formation of a multitude of languages. As explained by Rambam...this is why the Torah recorded the event.
It reassures those of us suffering under their rule against our will, that the Creator is aware and engaged and will certainly never let them win! It is my guess that he is not preventing them from seeing their plan through to the end, because His goal now is not to delay them for a few more millenia, but to destroy them for all eternity.
~ SHABBAT SHALOM ~