Although this parsha is called Noach, or Noah, the third year of the three-year Torah cycle deals with a different story:  The Tower of Babel.  Or, as Everett Fox translates it in the Five Books of Moses, the Tower of Babble.

The story starts out by explaining that everyone on earth lived in one spot and spoke the same language. One day, each of those people said to his neighbor “Hey, let’s build a tower.  We can build it of brick and building stone and asphalt.  Its top will be in the heavens.” Everyone thought that was a terrific idea and they started building the tower.

But God came down from the heavens.  God said: “Look.  These guys all have one language and this is what they’re doing.  If, with one language, they act this way, then nothing they want to do will be out of their reach.”  So God “confounded the speech of the whole earth, so that no one could understand his or her neighbor.”  God “baffled” their language.  Then God scattered the people all over the face of the earth, so they had to stop building the city. 

And that is why, according to Fox, it was called the Tower of Babble.

Food for Thought

Why didn’t God want the people to build the Tower?