King Balak forms a union with the neighboring nations in order to attack Am Yisrael. Much publicity has been given to the great and mighty nation that brought about the fall of the Egyptian empire. The pact made between Midyan and Moav in fact was not coming out of a goodwill aspiration for complete world harmony. Actually, they came together to challenge Am Yisrael and challenge the will of Hashem’s kingship in the world (much like building the tower of Babel). Little do they realize though that they are subservient to Israel’s destiny.
Balak seeks to use Bilam, the soothsayer, in cursing Am Yisrael and bringing about it’s demise. ALL of these plans however boomeranged and Bilam became the agent of assistance to Am Yisrael. His curses became blessings. When we first meet Bilam we see that his heart is sealed, even though he knew Hashem. When his she-ass spoke to him he persisted in his obstinate attitude that maybe he would prevail over Hashem! What Bilam didn’t know was that Hashem’s love for Am Yisrael is not dependent on any circumstance. (Luckily for Am Yisrael because even before the end of this parsha they are already involved in the Ba’al Peor drama!)
Parshat Balak, more than any other parsha in the entire Torah intimates the meaning of redemption, the suggestion of what will happen in the days of Mashiach when the nations of the world will try to come together against Israel, will try to curse it- but to no avail. We wait for the cue and almost see its prompt coming. If we can properly internalize what Bilam said even earlier, this reinforces our need for the Land of Yosef.- “Balak has brought me me’harerey Kedem”. Rabbi Hillel Lieberman brings down on this passuk – “Harerey Kedem – umiMeged Givot Olam “- Dueteronomy 33-15- In the heart of the Land of Yosef, the source of the blessings and curses, HarGerrizim and Har Eval, the mountains of the blessings and curses…. Even in his subconscious Bilam knew the curses would turn into blessings – “These shall stand upon Mount Gerizzim to bless the people…”- Dueteronomy 27-12
Dear Readers, Complete world harmony can only happen when we ourselves know and understand these places spoken about. They are the source of blessing to all of Am Yisrael wherever they may be.
Shabbat Shalom- Leah Goldsmith