Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Schedule
Friday, October 28 (1 Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan)
- 06:40 am – Shacharit
- 05:25 pm – Mincha
- 05:25 pm – Candle lighting
Saturday, October 29
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:50 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:10 pm – Men’s Class on Derech Hashem
- 04:55 pm – Mincha, followed by Se’udah Shlishit
- 06:20 pm – Ma’ariv
- 06:32 pm – Shabbat Ends
October 30 – November 4
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
- 05:20 pm – Sunday – Thursday
- 05:15 pm – Friday
- 05:50 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
The True Sin of the Dor Haflagah
Insights into Parshat Noach of Mr. David Drory of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
In Parshat Noach, we are confronted with the very enigmatic story of the Dor Haflagah. When most of us think of this Biblical episode, we are reminded of the popular Mussar lessons about the importance of Achdut -unity. We think of Rashi’s understanding that this generation’s unity saved them from being destroyed, which is the punishment they otherwise would have been dealt and deserved. But is the pshat really the easiest to understand?
Rashi, along with most of the Midrashim, understands that this generation, presumably led by Nimrod, was evil in that they denied Hashem’s uniqueness and power as God, and turned to Avodah Zarah. This interpretation believes that the “dvarim achadim” they spoke were words of heresy, the “migdal” was built in order to place idols in the sky in defiance of Hashem, and according to some opinions, including the Seforno, this idol was to wage war against Hashem. The “shem” was the infamous shem of Avodah Zarah. Many who understand the sin this way say that their main fear, and cause of sin, was the possibility that Hashem would bring another Mabul, since they assumed the world worked in a cycle. They thought their strong city and tall tower would prevent Hashem from being able to cause them to be lost, their fear of “pen nafutz al pnei ha’aretz.” Instead, they were dispersed from their camp, Eretz Shinar, to many different places in the area. The Tosfot Hashalem even says the fact that their sin was so much worse and fundamental then that of the Dor Hamabul was the reason why it is not written explicitly in the Torah.
Many other Meforshim take issue with this interpretation. The Ibn Ezra points out that Shem and Noach were part of this group, and they surely informed everyone of Hashem’s promise to not have another Mabul. He also says that they were not so stupid as to deny God so soon after the Mabul, and that it is very unlikely that they actually thought they could reach the Heavens with a tower. Other Mefarshim, like the Radak and Rabeinu Bachya, continue to explain that if they in fact were idol worshipers and heretics, the Pasuk would have told us, and certainly they would have been destroyed or punished more severely, assuming the dispersion is a form of punishment at all. They also bring other examples from Tanach where building a big tower or city is not a bad thing.
These Mefarshim instead prefer to view the Dor Haflagah’s sin as one less severe, and one that can be more easily explained through the words of the Pesukim. They explain that they wished, as the Torah implies, to all live in one area, and not be spread out across the world in different lands. That is why they continued to speak one language in this story. This, however, was against Hashem’s Ratzon that humanity should spread across all corners of the earth. Some say that they were not expected to know this, and that therefore their dispersion was not a punishment, just part of the Hashgachah. Others, including the Rashbam, say that their insistence on all living in one area, around one tower, was a violation of “P’ru U’rivu,” the commandment to Adam and his descendants to multiply.
There is an even more extreme approach, found in the Derashot HaRan (Mosad Harav Kook pgs 12-17) and other commentaries, which claims this generation never sinned at all. This explanation maintains that the problem of this generation was that they were evil people, evidenced by the facts they had Nimrod as a leader and treated Avraham Avinu poorly. The Ran writes that groups of evildoers and their efforts are always destined to be bad, even if a first they appear neutral. Here, their neutral city building was destined to lead to heresy and idol worship, and therefore Hashem went down to disperse them, to prevent any wrongdoing from happening in the future. They see the lashon of “Vayered Hashem” like the Seforno, who explains that it is one used when Hashem foresees the future and takes action, like the case of the Ben Sorer U’Moreh. The dispersion, they maintain, was not a punishment at all.
All of these different possible explanations are beautiful examples of the famous concept of “Eilu V’Eilu Divrei Elokim Chayim,” where we say all interpretations have elements of truth to them, and therefore should be taken seriously and with value. Whether the lesson is unity at all costs, sensitivity of the Ratzon Hashem, or the power of evil groups, we must take them to heart and hope to, in this instance, not uphold the mistakes of those before us.