Two Solutions to the Crisis

From “Who Are You, People of Israel”:

Searching for a solution to their conflict led the people of Babylon to form two conflicting views. The first was the view of Nimrod, king of Babylon, and the second was the view of Abraham, then a renowned Babylonian sage.

David Altshuler, author of Metzudat David (David’s Fortress), writes in his commentary on Chronicles One, “Until the days of Nimrod, all the people were equal, and no one prevailed over another so as to rule one another. But Nimrod began to prevail and rule the land.”

In truth, Nimrod made a perfectly reasonable case concerning the emerging hatred among the Babylonians. He argued that they should move beyond the boundaries of Babylon and disperse.

When they are far from one another, he asserted, they would be able to live in peace. Conversely, Abraham’s argument was that dispersion would solve nothing. He explained that according to nature’s law of evolution, human society is bound to become united. As a result, he strove to unite the Babylonians and to build a perfect society.

Succinctly, Abraham’s method entailed connecting people above their personal egos. When he began to advocate his method among his country folk, “thousands and tens of thousands assembled around him, and … He planted this tenet in their hearts,” writes Maimonides (Mishnah Torah, Part 1). The rest of the people chose Nimrod’s way: dispersion, similar to quarrelsome neighbors trying to stay out of each other’s way. These dispersed people gradually became what we now know as “human society.”

Only today, some 4,000 years down the line, can we begin to realize which of them was right, Abraham or Nimrod.

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