Please include Israel's captive soldiers in your tefillot: Zecharia Shlomo ben Miriam Baumel, Tzvi ben Penina Feldman, Yekutiel Yehuda Nachman ben Sarah Katz, Ron ben Batya Arad, Guy ben Rina Chever.
Monday, 26 Tishrei 5775 – October 20, 2014
The Torah in Parashat Noach tells the story of
Migdal Bavel, the
construction of the city and tower in Bavel and God’s angry response. We read that as Migdal Bavel
was being built, “God descended to see the city and the tower” (11:5). Rashi, noting the unusual description
of God “descending,” comments, “This comes to teach judges that they should not
convict the defendant until they see and understand.” God is described as “descending” to
view the project of Migdal Bavel, despite the fact that He was quite
obviously aware of every detail of the project without having to “descend,” to
set an example for human judges to follow.
They should not hastily convict a defendant, and should rather “descend”
to study the matter in depth and consider all various angles before reaching
Rashi’s comments are based upon the Midrash Tanchuma, which applies the message of “va-yeired Hashem” more generally, to apply to all people, and not merely to judges: “This teaches people not to reach a decision in judgment and not to speak about something which they did not see.” God’s “descent” is meant to instruct us not to make decisions or even make statements about matters before we have thoroughly investigated and studied them. The way a situation appears from a distance is often drastically different form the way it really is. We must not form opinions or speak authoritatively about people or about situations before first “descending,” before studying the matter up close and getting an accurate picture. God did not have to “descend” in order to know the complete, precise truth about Migdal Bavel, but He is nevertheless described as “descending” in order to set an example for us of the kind of patient analysis and consideration that must precede our decisions and statements.
Rav David Silverberg
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