“Let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name that will be known throughout the earth” (Genesis 11:4). Israel recently became only the fourth nation to make a name for itself by sending a spacecraft to the moon. The name of the mission sets a high standard: Beresheet, the title of the first book of the Bible, known in English as Genesis. This got me thinking about the story of the Tower of Babel. What did they mean by having the top of the tower reach into heaven? Was it really to be no more than a skyscraper of, say, 50 or 100 floors? Or, should we be interpreting these words differently? Were they literally aiming to build into space, far taller than any building that now exists? Our ambitions often know no boundaries.
It cost nearly $100 million to build and send Beresheet to the moon, the money coming primarily from private donors. The craft weighs 600 kilograms (1,300 pounds) and is about the size of a...
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