And all the earth was one language (safah), one set of words. This verse introduces the story of the Tower of Babel and its unhappy ending. In the Bible, explains the Mei HaShiloah, there are two words that are used for “language”: safah and lashon. Interestingly, safah can also mean lip and lashon can also mean tongue. Sometimes we communicate in a superficial way – we pay lip service to one another but don’t truly bring ourselves to the conversation. When building the Tower of Babel, this is how people communicated. The outcome was that God baffled their language and scattered them from there over all the earth. To be truly effective, it is not enough for our language to be a safah – lip service – but it must be a lashon – a tongue – an expression of our internal thoughts.