"Let us make ourselves a name." (Gen. 11:4)

The Generation of the Dispersion wished to receive sustenance from on High without curbing their egos and desires. Their plan was to elicit sustenance from the Name Havayah, although they deserved no better than to receive sustenance from the lowest levels of the Name Elokim. They desired to reach beyond the law-and-order world of Tikun to the world of Akudim, where the structure of Tikun does not exist. This verse can thus be interpreted as follows:

"Let us make ourselves a name": Let us draw from the Name Havayah.

"so that we will not be scattered": Lest we receive from the lowest levels of the Name Elokim.

To achieve this unity, they planned to build a tower.

To achieve this unity, they planned to build a tower. As the medieval commentator, Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra explains, they were shepherds who often roamed far from one another. This tall tower would be visible to them all from afar, so they would be able to return to it to regroup and reunite.

G‑d therefore could not allow their plan to succeed, since through unity they indeed would have been able to elicit Divine beneficence from the Name Havayah and channel it into impurity. (Similarly, once Adam had internalized evil by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, G‑d did not want him to eat from the Tree of Life and gain immortality, thereby eternalizing evil.)

The sin of this generation caused the Divine Presence to retreat from the fourth firmament to the fifth.

Adapted from Torah Ohr 11b of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad and Sefer Hama’amarim 5226, pp. 117, 316; Pri Etz Chaim, Sha’ar Chag Hamatzot; Torah Ohr 11b; Shir HaShirim Raba 5:1; Sefer HaMa’amarim 5710, pp. 111 ff.
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