June 29, 2020

Rabbi Simcha Mirvis on Genesis 11:3 -- "The Tower of Babel"

The Tower of Babel

Show Notes:

Joining Mark this week is Rabbi Simcha Mirvis, Director of the Tsfat Legacy Center and Vice President of Education for Nachal Novea. Rabbi Mirvis has devoted his life to engaging and inspiring a diverse range of people in Israel and abroad, and is dedicated to connecting people with the soulful wisdom of Tsfat. The scripture passage which he has chosen for today is Genesis 11:3.

In this episode, Mark and Rabbi Mirvis engage in a dynamic discussion which begins by looking at the Rabbi’s journey from his birthplace in Memphis to his current role at Tsfat, moves on to revealing the context of this scripture passage, and then explores the wide ranging implications and lessons to be learned from this rich text. Insights regarding technology, the relationship between the individual and society, diversity and uniformity, Abraham’s significance, and the very meaning of Babel itself abound during this fascinating and enlightening analysis. As you listen, you will discover that Mark and Rabbi Mirvis are, indeed, kindred spirits in their desire and ability to ‘unearth the practical and inspirational truth of the Torah’, and today’s episode provides a truly memorable example of this fact.

Episode Highlights:

Rabbi Mirvis’ journey from growing up in Memphis to his current role at Tsfat The context of Genesis 11:3 Insights from this passage regarding the ramifications of today’s technology, the relationship between the individual and society, diversity vs. uniformity, and Abraham’s significance in contrast to the tower The meaning of Babel and its significance Two important lessons that Rabbi Mirvis has learned


“Man is given the opportunity to destroy the world, create the world, do anything with the world.”

“Sometimes in our effort to survive and to protect ourselves, we’re actually inflicting damage on our own future.”

“Perhaps the first technological development in the history of mankind.”

“Abraham was born the year the tower was built.”

“In the confused heterogeneous tapestry of society, that’s where each fragment refracts a different truth of the Divine Light.”

“The focus on eternal values puts everything else in perspective.”

Genesis 11:3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard.”—Brick served them as stone, and bitumen served them as mortar. https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.11.3?lang=bi&aliyot=0


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