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Is the word ‘bricks’ a code word in the Bible?

September 10th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I recently replayed one of your “Ancient Jewish Wisdom” programs that I recorded about the tower of Babel and the introduction of secularism. I noticed , correct me if I am wrong, the first time the word “Brick” is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 11:3.

The question is, what is the significance of bricks concerning secularism as mentioned in Genesis Chapter 11:3? And by the way I absolutely love your program “Ancient Jewish Wisdom.” I record them and play them back to get it all, can’t get enough.

∼ Bob B.

Answer:

Dear Bob,

We are delighted that you watch and enjoy our Ancient Jewish Wisdom show on TCT. We’re not sure which episode you are referencing, but your point about bricks is not only correct, but vital to understanding the allure of socialism as it recurs through the centuries.

Genesis 11:3 is one of the many verses in the Bible that loses a great deal when it is translated into another language from the original Hebrew.  We delve into this verse in great detail in our audio program, Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel, including showing some of the unique Hebrew features in the study guide. But we don’t want to leave you in this answer without some tidbit of teaching.

The focus on bricks in the tower of Babel, continuing in Exodus with the building projects of Egypt and in later books of Scripture as well, is deliberate. We need to contrast bricks with another building material that was more readily available—stone. If you have ever played with Lego, you know that when you are looking for a piece of a certain size you can pick any of the matching pieces. Unlike a jigsaw puzzle, you don’t need to find the one and only piece that will work. That is the message of the brick; bricks are interchangeable. Stones, on the other hand, more closely resemble jigsaw puzzle pieces. Each one is unique and irreplaceable.

The socialist vision views people as bricks. They are only important for what they can do together. Each one is of minor import and is dispensable. God’s vision sees each person as built in HIs image. Every individual is a stone of society with unique contributions that the world needs that only that individual can deliver.

Again, thanks for watching and for writing. If you are still intrigued by this topic, please do take a look at Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel.

Individually yours,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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