Since the beginning of 2018, 31 workers have been killed in construction sites in Israel and more than 100 workers have been severely injured – resulting in the Histadrut declaring a labor dispute.
In this week’s parshah, the story of the Tower of Babel is related. Builders attempt to erect a huge, tall building in order to glorify and perpetuate their names. Our Sages describe the construction site as follows: “If a person fell down and died, they didn’t pay attention to him. But if a brick fell down, they sat and cried, 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 material and not the spiritual; it cares more about physical progress than human life.
Our commentators call upon us to check ourselves too – because, if we’re not careful, an apartment, a car, a cell phone might become more important and exciting to us than the human beings around us.
The Midrash tells that Abraham Avinu passed by the construction site of the Tower of Babel and was shocked. He began building a different culture – a diametrically opposite one – whose purpose was not promoting the brand “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.
That is how you build a real building.