PARSHAT NOACH: HARMONY IN DIVERSITY
By Sherrie B. Miller
“AND THE WHOLE EARTH WAS OF ONE LANGUAGE, AND OF ONE SPEECH.” (Breishit 11:1)
The Rav Yakov Ariel poses the question: if the goal of creation is unity, why the
anger on G-d’s part due to the unanimity and harmony amongst the people of that
generation? After all, Adam was created in the singular, to avoid rivalry and competition
between families. Adam’s creation, clearly demonstrates the Will of Hashem that
we be cohesive and joined in the common purpose and mindset of serving Him.
The Rav Ariel explains that we must distinguish between the two terms used in the
Torah for “language”: “safah” and “lashon”. “Safa” also means lip, an external physical
feature. “Lashon” means tongue, as well. The tongue is an internal characteristic
that expresses an inner and much deeper content.
The problem with the singular and unified mindset is that it is superficial and
doesn’t allow for stimulation and growth on the part of the individual within his
community. This says Rav Dessler is the idea behind the covenant of the Rainbow:
as the Rainbow manifests itself through continuous renewal of the rain drops that
meet with the sun’s rays, so too we must be renewed through a meeting of minds that
possess different ideas and thoughts.
The multicolored Rainbow additionally gives a message of harmony combined with diversity.
By opening up to others’ and their differing ideas, we develop and expand ourselves
Recently, I suggested a match between two young people. They were from very similar
backgrounds, close in age etc. After the date, the young woman phoned to say that
she didn’t think it would work. Quite surprised, I enquired as to the reason for
her decision. “He is Soloveichik and I’m Rav Kook!” How sad the two luminaries would
feel if they were alive.
Being so restrictive and exclusive greatly limits our ability to grow and cultivate
ourselves into more spiritual and greater human beings.
Trying to clone ourselves will yield minor gains in the effort to reach our full
potential. By discovering the harmony in diversity, we become far more than we ever
could have been if we all try to be identical: if two people are identical, then
one of them is superfluous!
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish matchmaker on SawYouAtSinai
and a dating coach in Jerusalem. She received her counseling degree from the Michlala
in Jerusalem and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Touro College. Sherrie is certified
by Midreshet Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital
couple’s counselor and Kallah teacher.