Weekly Balak (Brief essays on the weekly Torah section)

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When coming out of the desert the Israelites approached the land of Moab, Balak the king of it appealed for help to a famous magician Balaam (Balaam), that he cursed the Jewish people. Gd appeared in visions of the night to Balaam, and forbade him to speak a curse, but Balaam after some hesitation still went to Balak.

On the way, sent by Gd angel with a flaming sword barred the way Balaam, who rides on a donkey, but Balaam did not see the angel does not understand maneuvers forced the ass and beating her "stubbornness." And then "Gd opened the mouth of the ass."

"Balaam's ass" rebukes Balaam for misunderstanding and cruelty: she saves his life. At the same moment, "Minghui" Balaam sees, finally, an angel who tells him that she can and can not talk about the Jews.

Finally, Balaam comes to Balak, king of Moab, and conducts a thorough preparation for the ritual curse in the hope that the guest words destroy the hated Jews. But the result is the opposite: three times Balaam tried to utter a curse in a state of visionary trance, and all three times his mouth uttered only blessing.

Frustrated Balaam Balak sends home. Meanwhile, Jews begin to whore with Moabite and worship their idols. Gd sends pestilence upon sinners. The leader of the tribe of Shimon the eyes of all the Jews in his tent introduces midyanskuyu princess, and the grandson of Aaron Cohen Pinhas impales both spear.

Rampant epidemic will be stopped immediately. From her 24 thousand people died.

A ticket to the "High Society"

"Who can count the dust of Jacob, and Israel will recalculate the dust?" (23:10). According to Rashi, this involuntary blessing Balaam talking about numerous commandments that Jews performed using ashes and dust. To name just some of them: it is impossible to plow simultaneously on a bull and a donkey; can not wreak COIL mixture of grape seeds with seeds of wheat and barley; ash red cows used for ritual purification after contact with the dead body; wife suspected of infidelity, check drink containing earth, taken near the temple altar etc.

But why Bilam drew attention on this category of mitzvot? We can assume that he admires the ability of Jews to put at the service of Gd, even the most everyday and insignificant things, their ability to impart sanctity of bricks, wood, fabric, and even dust of the earth.

For only the Jews know that the only purpose of Creation is the sanctification of the Name of the Creator and that this purpose can be any object created by Him, any "fines".

King Solomon said: "In all thy ways acknowledge him" (Proverbs 3: 6). In other words, we have to serve Gd, even when engaged in the most humdrum affairs. The simplest everyday actions if to make them correctly, according to the laws of the Torah, become acts of holiness. And Balaam tells us that holiness can have not only the actions, but also subjects.

Commenting on the second part of the above verse, Rashi says that the word "dust" (Rova) indicates the conjugal intimacy. Balaam was referring to the desire of the Jews to give even the sanctity of such actions, which in other nations, other religions are considered shameful, the epitome of the gross physical nature, the antithesis of holiness.

Now we will be clearer following the words of Balaam from the same tenth verse: "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his."

Chafetz Chaim said that Balaam wanted to die "in Hebrew," and, as a Jew, to inherit the World to Come. But he did not want to live a Jewish life. It is clear why. After all, the Jews lead a righteous way of life. This world is for them - a corridor leading to the world of eternal, spiritual bliss, and they make haste to use the physical abilities and the joy of the material world is not for fleeting pleasures, and for the entrance ticket to the "High Society."

This philosophy is alien to gross materialists, who would not hear about any World to Come and hurry to cram in the allotted him in this world as much as 70-80 years of pleasure possible, "so that was something to remember."

Greedy and conceited Balaam had enough foresight to recognize the World to Come, and see the benefits of the Jewish way of life, strict and cautious. However, to understand does not mean to imitate. In short, Balaam, and many other villains, wanted to get a reward, but he did not want her to honestly earn.

As a result of Balaam lost his life in both worlds. In the Matot (31: 8), we learn that he was killed during the battle of the Jewish sword, and the sages of the Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin reported (90a), that Bilam is among those who have lost their share in the World to Come.

The secret weapon of Islam

"Ihe Mi Misumi el - Who will survive when he put these!" This vague phrase Balaam, in addition to many others, has the following meaning.

Balaam was discovered that of all the peoples of the world, only two - Jews and Arabs - are awarded with the fact that their name will be attached Name of Gd, "Isra-el" and "Ishmaev-el." Woe to him, continues to Balaam, who will live in the era of Ishmael.

That we had to live in this era. Before our eyes, just behind the times, and the poor people of some thirty or forty years has acquired great influence and wealth, threatening to subjugate the whole world.

What is the source of his strength? No, not in oil (it is enough in Russia, so what's the point?) And not in the multiplicity (Chinese and Indians are much more). The secret weapon of the Arabs - their religion, the power of their prayers, as their very name says: Ishmaev el, "Gd will hear."

Every Arab politician ends his speech with the words: "with the help of Allah." No Muslim will not hesitate to spread the prayer rug in the main street of Paris or London, and turned to face Mecca, immerse yourself in selfless prayer. Millions of Muslims make the annual Hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca. Among the Jews of such devotion to their religion and traditions are rare.

Most Israelis prefer the beaches of Eilat ancient stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall of the Jerusalem Temple. Tourists from the Diaspora make pilgrimages not in Hebron's Tomb of the patriarchs, and in Tel Aviv disco-bar. There was a time when the Jewish people three times a year, on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, to climb to the temple in Jerusalem. And lo and behold! There's enough room for everyone.

What power enables Muslims so long to own the Temple Mount? Al-Aqsa Mosque stands on it for almost thirteen centuries, while our holy Temple radiated his wonderful Divine light, a total of eight hundred and thirty years. Even miraculous victory in the Six Day War did not return us to a holy place in the world, of which our ancestors dreamed.

Thereby Ishmael not only firmly holds in its hands the Temple Mount, but also successfully oppresses us with much fanfare the "peace process", pulls us out from under the feet of our land? Through the power of his prayer, recorded in his name: "Hear Gd."

By agreeing to sacrifice herself on the future site of the Temple, our forefather Isaac became the source of eternal dedication of the Jewish people, his willingness to commit mesirut nefesh, to give his life for God. But the soul can give and not dying. Whenever a Jew prays to Gd, he gives him his soul as if to say: "Gd, my life is in your hands." Such prayer passion to us today is not enough.

But the ultimate victory will still be with us. We will achieve it not by international agreements and "guarantees", and not by force of arms. Prayer Ishmael is strong only because the Jews are weak in his prayer. Al-Aqsa is worth only because the destroyed Temple. Ishmael fills the vacuum that we ourselves have created. Our name Isra-el is derived from the words Yashar, straight, unbending. Name should be justified.

Published with permission of the publisher "Shvut Ami"