Money or Life?

Since the beginning of 2018, 31 construction workers were killed in construction sites in Israel, and more than 100 workers were severely injured. The Histadrut (General Organization of Workers) declared a labor dispute in the Israeli market because of this wave of work accidents.
In this week’s Portion, the story of the Tower of Babel is told: an attempt to erect a huge, tall building in order to glorify and perpetuate the names of the builders. Our Sages describe the construction work as a horrible one: “If a person fell down and died – they didn’t pay attention to him. But if a brick fell down, they were sitting and crying, saying: ‘When will another one replace it?'”
A society in which nobody cares about a person who falls down and dies, but mourns a stone that falls – is a society that has a problem: it sanctifies the materialistic things and not the spirit; it cares more about physical progress than about human life.
Our commentators call upon us to check ourselves too, because an apartment, a car, a cellular phone might become more important and exciting to us than the human beings around us. The Midrash tells that Abraham Avinu passed by, next to that construction work of the Tower of Babel, and was shocked. He began building another culture, a diametrically opposed one, whose purpose was not promotion of the brand title “me”. Together with Sarah Imenu he built a home of loving-kindness, of caring about others, of running towards three strangers in order to give them food. This is how you build a real building.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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