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What Is the Meaning of the Bible Story of King Nimrod, his Astrologists, and his Decree to Kill all Newborn Sons?

What Is the Meaning of the Bible Story of King Nimrod, his Astrologists, and his Decree to Kill all Newborn Sons?

What Is King Nimrod?

At the time of Babylon, a king named Nimrod (your ego) reigned within you. You followed him faithfully, trusted him, and worshipped only him.

The Nimrod inside you refers to the natural, fairly developed egoism that wishes for, and can achieve, anything: “Everyone knew that his arm, aimed at a deer’s heart, never missed its target.”

If you remember, your entire life and all your intentions were focused exclusively on yourself. “What does it do for me” was the principle you lived by. All of your relations with others essentially came down to this.

“Nimrod” was always your essence. He didn’t take anyone into account but himself: “Woe was he who dared to question that Nimrod was a self-made god.”

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Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Genesis, 6:9-11:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | September 29 – October 5, 2013 – Tishrei 25 – Cheshvan 1, 5774

In A Nutshell

The portion, Noah, speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.

But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.

The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky.

The end of the portion speaks of the tower of Babel, about the people who decided to build a tower whose head reaches the heaven. The Creator decided to confuse their language so they would not understand one another, and then He dispersed them throughout the country.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, Noah, is long, intense, and contains many details and many events compared to other portions. As this portion takes place in the beginning of the Torah, it also marks the beginning of the spiritual path, the most important time in a person’s development.

These initial stages unfold quite quickly, unlike subsequent events, when one begins the actual corrections and corrects one’s qualities meticulously. Later on, the events are far more detailed, as we will see in the future events unfolding in the Torah.

Our development takes place entirely over our egotistical will to receive, which we must turn into bestowal. Today we are still in the midst of a process where the whole of humanity is to begin to work with its ego in the right connection between people. The work against the ego is always a big problem, and appears as waves of a great sea, called Malchut of Ein Sof (Malchut of infinity).

Each time, the ego surfaces more and more, and at first, a person does not know what to do, so the only option is to hide in a box, an ark. It is not merely an escape; it is a correction. A person builds a kind of bubble, the quality of bestowal, and hides in it from all of one’s terrible egotistical qualities, and this is how one advances.

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Glossary – Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


“Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” means that quality of bestowal that is now appearing in a person. Noah is righteous, from the right side, Hesed, in relation to that flood, in relation to those egotistical desires.


On the one hand the flood is water. On the other hand, it is water with the force of Gevura, the power of fire, the destructive egotistical power. It is an incorrect connection between left and right, where the left, the ego, dominates the right.

The Ark

The ark is the quality of Bina, bestowal, Hassadim (mercy). It is a mother who tends to anyone who joins her and is under her influence.

Forty Days and Forty Nights

This period marks the difference between Malchut and Bina. Bina is called “blocked Mem” (final Mem in Hebrew). Mem is forty in Gematria. The ascent from the quality of reception into the quality of bestowal, from Malchut to Bina, means ascending to the degree of forty.

The Crow

The crow is the part of the left that requires correction, compared to the dove, which is from the right. Therefore, when the dove governs instead of the crow, when it returns with an olive leaf, it is clear that the correction has been completed, and the ego is entirely under the domination of bestowal.

An Olive Leaf

The olive is used for many things, such as oil for lamps. Oil itself is one of the foundations of life. It is light of Hochma that can be inside the light of Hassadim, when we have come into a state from which we can keep developing. The development takes place through the light of Hochma, although the correction is done by light of Hassadim. These are always two opposing forces.


The rainbow marks the covenant. If I make a covenant with you, it is not because we enjoy being together, because in that state there is no need to sign anything. Rather, it is a guarantee for tomorrow. We fear that our relationship will deteriorate, or that we anticipate that it will, therefore our fore-signing will force us to maintain good and proper relations.

In Hebrew, a rainbow is called “an arch in the cloud.” The cloud does not symbolize a good situation, but the arch, the connection between us, which is over the cloud, ties us in a way that allows us to continue. We need that covenant, which is an everlasting covenant.

The Tower of Babel

This is the big ego that intensified during the time of Nimrod. The ego is constantly growing—evil waters, waters in Gevurot at the time of Noah, then the tower of Babel, and then the ego comes in the form of Pharaoh, then in the form of the Romans and the Greeks. The ego constantly grows and wears different facades.


The Meaning of the Story of the Escape from Babylon with Abraham’s Method

The Meaning of the Story of the Escape from Babylon with Abraham’s Method

In the story about ancient Babylon the Torah offers this advice: “Listen to the Abraham in you.” Find him amidst the egoistic madness and give him the freedom to act. Let the ego squeal and resist any changes aimed at spiritual advancement, but it must be understood that there is no other way. Everything else has been tried and tested, and we can clearly see that it hasn’t worked.

This is precisely why the wisdom of Kabbalah, Abraham’s method, hidden from humanity for millennia, is being revealed today.

If humanity listens, we will follow the constructive path of unification with Nature. If it doesn’t, we will follow the path of suffering. But either way, we will reach the goal.


The Development of the Ego from Ancient Babylon to Modern Global Crisis

What does it mean to unite with Nature? Kabbalists wrote about it almost 4,000 years ago in The Book of Creation.

All around us exists a single law, to which we do not conform. The Law of Nature is one of absolute altruism, absolute love. It acts all around us in full force. It is known as the Creator’s Law.

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The Meaning of the Tower of Babel Bible Story

The Meaning of the Tower of Babel Bible Story

“And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’”


The Historical Babylon

And there it is—the first and incredibly significant event that turned the whole world upside down—the beginning of the construction of the Tower of Babel. It is a story that took place some 4,000 years ago, yet remains startlingly topical to this day.

Any historic event you can think of is a consequence of what has already transpired in the spiritual realm.

There is a saying in Kabbalah that “there is not a blade of grass below that does not have an angel above that strikes it and tells it, ‘Grow!’” So is the case with the Tower of Babel. It actually existed, as the annals of history confirm.

At the turn of the 20th century, German archeologist Robert Koldewey discovered the ancient city of Babylon in today’s Iraq. It contained the ruins of a tower whose dimensions measured (in meters) 90x90x90. Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC, described the tower as a seven-tier pyramid of analogous dimensions.


Babylon within Us

The above findings are actually hypotheses about the physical evidence of the existence of the Tower of Babel. We, however, are more interested in the roots of what really happened. We strive to understand the cause, correlate it with our inner world, and make sure that the division that took place then doesn’t repeat itself. By attaining the spiritual worlds we can influence the cause of everything that transpires, and thereby change our fate, the fate of the world, and the fate of humanity as a whole.

This is what the Midrash tells us on the subject: The Babylonians knew the story of the flood. They lived in fear that the same fate might befall them. Thus, they sought a place where they could dwell in complete safety. Ultimately, they found a valley in the land of Babylon that was big enough to hold them all.

Afterwards the people crowned Nimrod as their king. And since they all settled in Babylon, Nimrod essentially became king of the entire population on Earth.

Nimrod proposed to the people, “Let us build a big city where we can all live. And in that city let us erect a very high tower.” His subjects were delighted with the idea.

He said, “Let us build a tower so high that its top will reach the Heavens, and let us make us a name, lest another flood comes and scatters us throughout the world.”


The New, Stronger Ego Crowned as King

However, though all were united in the belief that the tower must be built, their opinions concerning the purpose of its construction differed.

Some people thought, “In the event of another flood, we shall climb to the top of the tower, where the water shall not reach us.”

Another group thought, “We shall make us a name,” aiming to build a place of assembly at the top of the tower and worship their gods there, thus being saved from any calamity.

Others still protested, “It is unjust that the Creator alone is lord over the realms above, limiting our domain to the world below.”

Do you see the ego talking?!

“We will reach the heavens on our own, without the Creator’s help. We will rule the world, and not Him. We will build us a tower so high that its top will reach the heavens, and we will make us a name.”

Where is this audacity coming from? The answer is that they had reached a new degree.

Precisely because they were able to complete the previous degree, they were given additional egoism to work with.

At this new degree the ego is king, and its name is “Nimrod,” from the word, Meridah—rebellion.

“And so, the people crowned Nimrod to be their king. And since they all settled in Babylon, Nimrod essentially became king of the entire population of Earth.”

“Nimrod” is a powerful new egoistic force that rules over the entire ego. And that force is what you must battle now.


Abraham, the Altruistic Force, Capable of Defeating Nimrod Appears

At first glance, the ego  appears to have won.

The building of the tower was a mammoth undertaking. Because there was no stone in Babylon, the people created a new construction material: they burned clay in fire and used the resulting bricks in place of stone.

The bricks were fashioned as if by themselves: when the people laid one brick, they discovered two in the wall, and when they laid two, four bricks appeared in the wall.

What does this passage mean? It is the voice of the ego  saying, “We don’t need the Upper Force, we’ll develop construction technology, we’ll believe only in our own hands, in our own intellect, and we will win.”

The tower grew and grew, and soon became so tall that it took a year to climb to its top.

The builders were so fanatical in their desire to complete the tower that whenever a brick fell and broke, they lamented: “How hard it will be to replace it.” “But when a person slipped and fell to his death, no one looked upon him.”

One day, a man named Abraham, son of Terah, was walking past the site of the tower’s construction. He was forty-eight years old at the time, and famous for opposing the erection of the tower. When he approached and was asked, “Join us in building the tower, for you are a powerful man and will be very useful,” he refused them, saying, “You have renounced the Creator, who is the Tower, and decided to replace Him with a tower of bricks.”

This is how the altruistic force that corresponds to this egoistic degree manifests in us. This force is the only one capable of defeating Nimrod, and its name is Abraham.

This force throws out a warning almost in passing. It is not yet capable of dealing with the enlarged egoism, but its voice can already be heard, and this is very important.

The Secrets of the Eternal Book“The Meaning of the Tower of Babel Bible Story” is based on the book, The Secrets of the Eternal Book: The Meaning of the Stories of the Pentateuch by Semion Vinokur.

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