In this weeks’ Torah portion we read:
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 build a city, and a tower with its top in heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed across the whole earth.”…And G-d 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 that they propose to do? Come let us descend and confuse their language, that they should not understand one another’s language.” And G-d dispersed them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
What is really behind this bizarre story? What is so terrible about unity and the desire to build a tower and a city?
The Kabbalah explains that what was really going on was a plot to undermine the moral principles that G-d established for the world. These people reasoned that if they could completely stay together and solidify a uniform moral consensus they could then do whatever they want. For instance, they wanted to make adultery good and moral, as well as other sexual perversions.
The Kabbalah tells us that tower and city are euphemisms for sexuality. They figured that morality is merely a social contract that can be determined by their own unified opinion. They believed that the whole is just the sum of the parts and therefore defined by the parts. G-d is the whole but we are the parts. And since the whole — G-d — is merely the sum of the parts we can create a unified moral consensus and determine G-d and the moral principles and goals of life. And they seem to have a good point.
The only problem is G-d is the whole and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. G-d is not even the sum of the parts. Rather the parts are birth out of the primordial Divine whole who determines the goal of life and the principles that govern the life of the parts. G-d dispersed them so that they would never elude themselves again and think they could rewrite the divine laws of life.
We make happiness happen when we are in harmony with ourselves, each other and G-d. We feel great when we integrate.