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    A common language – No’ach

    In the story of the Tower of Babel, the Torah explains why human beings, despite their common ancestor, speak so many languages.

    The story of language has been widely researched. There are commonalities and differences between languages.

    One of the major features of language today is how one language, English, has so many variants.

    There are words, idioms and intonations which prove the truth of what Churchill said about the English and Americans, that they are one people divided by a common language.

    From the Jewish point of view a major phenomenon is the way in which Jews have adopted and adapted so many languages to produce Jewish versions. The most obvious are, amongst Sephardim, Ladino or Judeo-Spanish, and amongst Ashkenazim, Yiddish or Judeo-German.

    The big question, however, is not linguistic history but whether human beings can find a common ethical language.

    It doesn’t matter so much which language they use but whether they can agree to build a common climate of truth, peace and justice, the three pillars on which, according to Judaism, the universe stands.

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