Midreshet Amit


Back to Main Page

Unity vs. Individuality

By: Maya Homa and Taylor Dinar

Is the power of unity always good? In Parshat Noach, perek yud aleph, pasuk alef we read “everyone on earth had the same language and the same words”. One would think that after the world had been destroyed by the flood this would be a positive note to start with. Not only is everyone communicating but they all have the same goal in mind of creating a unified society. They feared they would be scattered again so they decided to build a tower to strengthen their community. This mentality from a psychological standpoint seems ideal because it is a chance for the nation to recreate a strong unified identity. The nation in a way is suffering PTSD and is in constant fear to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors. As result they found comfort in joining together because how could they could all be in the wrong if everyone was on the same page. We see even now in modern times that in a crisis we find comfort in being together united for a common goal.  
This unity seems ideal from the outside perspective however the core intentions of it all were corrupt. They thought that everyone sharing the same thoughts and ideas would bring them to “have a name for ourselves or we will be scattered all over the earth.” Hashem looks down at their desire for oneness as a negative. The lack of language barrier would cause them to think that they can do anything. They used their skills to bypass nature and reach God rather than for building necessary elements for their society. According to the Abarbanel  they were already obsessed with the material nature of the world and not using their gifts for spirituality. While they are united for their common goal -the goal is not a correct one.
Overall multiple messages can be derived from the tower of babel. One is recognizing  that although unity can be an extremely powerful tool for accomplishing something good, it can just as easily turn into something bad. Another lesson that can be learned is that without people acting as individuals there is no one to put into question the true intentions and integrity of the group's goal, causing them to lose sight of what they had in mind originally.
This year at Midreshet Amit, we are lucky to both be working together as a group without losing sight of our individual strengths and differences. May we blessed to use our skills for good.