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Articles

  1. Future: A world without Israel | PMW
  2. Dvar Torah Questions and Answers on Balak
  3. The Shema | My Jewish Learning
  4. ישראל Israel
  5. Dvar Torah Questions and Answers on Balak

Moav was destined to be destroyed by him see and II Samuel , but with Balak wiped out, King David would never be born.

Why did Balak seek to reduce them specifically by this amount? The count of the Jewish people recorded in the beginning of Bamidbar was , In addition to this, the tribe of Levi was counted separately and totaled 22, , Rashi. Thus, the census of the Jewish people totaled , One twenty-fourth of the total count of the Jewish people amounts to 26, If Balak had realized his wish, the remaining total of the Jewish people would have been only , According to a Midrash , in order for the Jewish people to be worthy of entering Eretz Yisrael , their number had to be at least , Consequently, if their number had been reduced by one twenty-fourth, they would not have been able to enter Eretz Yisrael and would have remained wandering in the desert.

Thus, there is no question that I will not be able to wipe them out because you have already blessed them to destroy their foes. Hence, all I am asking of you is to place a curse upon them so that I may at least drive them from the land. To give a blessing one must be devoid of jealousy and ill will. Therefore, the Kohanim were selected to bless the Jewish people since they are the descendants of Aharon , who was the quintessential lover of his fellow man. Consequently, your blessings are of absolutely no value because when you bless you do not mean it.

When you bless someone and the blessing later seems to be fulfilled, it is definitely not thanks to you, but because mevorach — the person happens to be already blessed. Even though there had been no talk of money, Bilaam referred to a large and specific quantity, so it is obvious that he was very greedy. On the other hand, Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma was offered a million gold pieces.

Future: A world without Israel | PMW

After binding Yitzchak on the altar, he stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son, but suddenly an angel from heaven stopped him and explained that Hashem never told him to slaughter his son, but only to bring him up and prepare him for a burnt-offering see Rashi, Bereishit Bilaam on the other hand, permeated with evil intentions, wanted to curse the Jewish people, and thus end their existence. Had I wanted to destroy the Jewish people I could have done it years ago through my faithful servant Avraham.

If I did not do it then through him, I will surely not permit a wicked person like you to destroy them. Hashem did not tell him to travel by donkey, but He meant for him to arise and go by foot with them.

Dvar Torah Questions and Answers on Balak

Once Bilaam received permission from Hashem to go to Balak, he saddled his donkey in anticipation of completing his journey as quickly as possible. First Yaakov took a stone and raised it up as a monument. Then they took stones and made a mound.

The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Part 2)

Bilaam was a descendant of Lavan Sanhedrin a. By coming to curse the Jewish people, he was the first to violate this ancestral agreement. The fences in the vineyard where the angel stood were of stone Rashi. Since Bilaam had blatantly defied the agreement not to cause harm to the Jewish people, he was punished by having his leg crushed by the witnesses — the stones of the wall. Eventually truth prevails and lies dissipate. Bilaam was permeated with falsehood. His lust for glory and money, so blinded him that he thought that he could even deceive Hashem. Therefore Hashem caused the donkey to injure his foot as a message that his attempts to hurt the Jewish people would be short-lived.

Truth stands firmly on two feet and can stand forever. One may be able to stand on one foot, but not for long.

The Shema | My Jewish Learning

Though oxen are more select in the animal kingdom, the lamb was selected because it represents humility. According to the Midrash the Jewish people are compared to lambs, which demonstrate the trait of humility by walking head to tail. Thus, the lamb, representing the character of the Jewish people, was selected to be the daily offering in the Beit Hamikdash. Nevertheless, his hatred of Jews and greed overpowered his better judgment. Ultimately he admitted his folly. Prior to his departure, he advised Balak of a way to destroy the Jewish community.

ישראל Israel

See to it that the Jewish people mingle with the Moabite women and their doom will be sealed. In an effort to prevent the Jewish people from intermarrying, the sages have forbidden the oil, bread and wine of non-Jews Shabbat 17b. When Bilaam arrived and saw the banners of the Jewish people, he immediately realized from the Hebrew letters upon them that Hashem does not want anything resembling a curse to be attached to the Jewish people.

If so, how can I curse them. Thus, the letters of the names of the patriarchs and matriarchs together add up to twenty-six, which is also the numerical value of the four-lettered holy name of Hashem, the Tetragrammaton.

Dvar Torah Questions and Answers on Balak

In the single category, the first and last letters can be added to equal ten: i. In the category of tens, the first and last letters can be paired together to equal i. What was the secret, he wondered, of their success? Even those who are not alive physically are still considered alive since they will be resurrected after Mashiach comes. Thus, taking into account all the Jews of previous generations, we outnumber the Christians. Consequently, I yearn that in death I join the majority and that my end be like theirs — resurrected in the days of Mashiach. Why did he ask Bilaam to curse them from a place where he could only see some of them?

When you judge them as a whole, you see their collective splendor. Blind your eyes to their general excellence and concentrate only on certain aspects, and surely you will be able to find faults in individuals. To their dismay, their efforts were futile because each and every Jew in his own right was holy and righteous. Thus, he speaks about the mitzvah of wearing tefillin , but does not actually perform it.

However, if later on in the day he puts on tefillin , his recital of shema is not considered false testimony. This can be substantiated from the Gemara ibid. Though libations are indeed required with many sacrifices, the Gemara Menachot 15b clearly rules that it is unnecessary to bring them together.

When one brings a sacrifice and a few days later brings the libations, he has properly fulfilled his obligation. When one fears missing the deadline for the reciting shema , it is proper to recite it immediately without tefillin , and don the tefillin later on in the day. One eye would be sufficient because when I close one eye, I can see just as well?

His father explained that people have two eyes for a reason. When one looks at a Jew, one should always look with the right eye and find his good qualities. The left eye is for worldly matters and things of minor importance. Sometimes one should even close it and not pursue materialistic desires. Balak was extremely disappointed with Bilaam because instead of cursing the Jews, he was praising and blessing them. My right eye has no vision, and thus I cannot see any good in the Jewish people. You only have to put in a little effort and Hashem opens for you the vast gates of teshuvah.

ANSWER: Inherent humility and insecurity usually inhibits a person from thinking highly of or praising his own endeavors and accomplishments. Very often he needs the assurance of an outsider to be convinced that his decision or action was correct.


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Bilaam the non-Jewish prophet had a profound insight of the secular world. When he took a close look at the Jewish people, he was stunned and flabbergasted at their beauty. We thus recall that even the great gentile prophet, Bilaam, attested to the beauty and superiority of our religion. Since he would otherwise have had to engage armies to fight the Jews and incur great expenditures, he agreed to pay Bilaam a large fee for his services.

Therefore, he hired Bilaam to annihilate the Jewish people through his power of cursing. Where is there an indication in the pasuk that Bilaam advised Balak to promote harlotry with the Jewish people? Unable to succeed with his prophetic powers, he tried to destroy them through enticing them to intermarry.


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