If all the billions of people in the world spoke one universal language, would we be more united and better at loving one another?
Maybe yes. But probably no. For we see that even people who speak the same language can find little to agree about. Conversely, two different people, from two different corners of the earth, speaking two different languages, can love each other.
Once upon a time, a mighty empire tried this experiment, and it proved its downfall. But from their colossal mistake we derive a formula for true co-existence and love.
The final verses in this week’s Torah reading – Parshat Noach – contain the secret to world peace and the antidote to all bigotry, racism and animosity. And, as well, on the personal front – the secret to creating harmonious relationships.
Within this legendary story of languages, skyscrapers and confusion, lies the secret to touching heaven and creating peace on earth, and the real reason for the rise and fall of all empires throughout history.
This sermon also asks: Why did Ludwig Lazarus (Leizer Levi Zamenhof), a Jew from Bialystok, fail in his attempt to unite the world? And it answers: For the same reason that all empires have fallen.
Though the people of these mighty empires may have spoken the same language, they lacked the most important ingredient – true unity. For, sometimes, speaking different languages helps us come to terms with what really binds us together. The personal lesson from this is as astonishing as it is revolutionary.