Who needs a nation?

At the beginning of human history, the Torah describes the universalists’ dream of a world without nations and without borders. You can almost hear the words of John Lennon in the song “Imagine” being sung in the background. But this dream of nationless, borderless freedom has no basis in reality, even if it persists until today, and is shattered time and again with devastating consequences – from Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, to Cain’s murder of Abel, to the destruction of the world in a flood. The ultimate expression of this bankrupt universalist dream was a construction project, when all of humanity got together to erect a tower that would nullify the border between heaven and earth. But the tower (of Babel) collapsed. What is the solution? Why can’t everyone just live together in peace? Why is it so difficult? The solution is Abraham. From the ruins of the Tower of Babel, Abraham journeys to the Land of Israel to fulfill his life’s mission, which is our mission, too. Abraham introduces to the world the concepts of identity, nationality, and heritage. Suddenly, there is a nation with its own language and its own land, with geographical borders and behavioral boundaries. There is still a long road ahead in completing the mission of fixing the world which Abraham’s descendants, with the gift of Torah at their side, are alone equipped to do. It’s a mission of bringing the peoples of the earth, each with its own unique identity, together — not to build a tower, but to worship one G-d. Shabbat Shalom

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

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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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