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It is written, "And the Lord came down to see71a, 75a the city and the tower which the children of men builded" (Gen. XI. 8). This is one of the ten manifestations and descents of the Schekina in the world. If it be asked what need was there for descending on this occasion, seeing that the erection of the city must have been well known on high? we reply, it was to pass and execute judgment upon the presumption of these Postdiluvians. The word "liroth" (to see) is sometimes taken in this sense as in the words, "The Lord look upon you and judge" (Ex. V. 20). The esoteric meaning of the words "to see the city and the tower" is this. It was not with the object of seeing them but the men who were engaged in their erection. When the Holy One is about to execute judgments upon men for their evil deeds, he begins with those who are first and foremost in wrongdoing,

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and afterwards, turns attention to their ignorant and misguided75a-75b followers. But why are these builders of Babel here mentioned and referred to not as men, but as the children of Adam? It was because they acted similarly to our first ancestor who revolted against his Lord and caused death to enter into the world. Even so did they denounce allegiance to the rule of the Lord and by their audacious and presumptuous project thought to scale the heights and invade the domain of heaven itself.

Next: Chapter LXXVI. Rabbi Simeon on the Closing of the Sanctuary