Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Hashavuah: Balak 5770

Question
In his first set of prophecies, Bilaam makes a prediction that shows the status of Jews and Israel in the world today. What is this prophecy?

This weeks Parshah Balak Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:2-25:9

ANSWER

The first prophecy that Balak makes is:

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 22
7. He took up his parable and said, “Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east [saying], ‘Come, curse Jacob for me and come invoke wrath against Israel.’ ז. וַיִּשָּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר מִן אֲרָם יַנְחֵנִי בָלָק מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב מֵהַרְרֵי קֶדֶם לְכָה אָרָה לִּי יַעֲקֹב וּלְכָה זֹעֲמָה יִשְׂרָאֵל:
8. How can I curse whom God has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the Lord has not been angered? ח. מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל וּמָה אֶזְעֹם לֹא זָעַם יְ־הֹוָ־ה:
9. For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations. ט. כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ וּמִגְּבָעוֹת אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב:
10. Who counted the dust of Jacob or the number of a fourth of [or, of the seed of] Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his.” י. מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב וּמִסְפָּר אֶת רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל תָּמֹת נַפְשִׁי מוֹת יְשָׁרִים וּתְהִי אַחֲרִיתִי כָּמֹהוּ:
11. Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them!” יא. וַיֹּאמֶר בָּלָק אֶל בִּלְעָם מֶה עָשִׂיתָ לִי לָקֹב אֹיְבַי לְקַחְתִּיךָ וְהִנֵּה בֵּרַכְתָּ בָרֵךְ:
12. He answered, saying, “What the Lord puts into my mouth that I must take care to say.” יב. וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמַר הֲלֹא אֵת אֲשֶׁר יָשִׂים יְ־הֹוָ־ה בְּפִי אֹתוֹ אֶשְׁמֹר לְדַבֵּר:

What in this is the answer to how he prophesies about the status of Jews and their nation throughout time?

9. For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations. ט. כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ וּמִגְּבָעוֹת אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב:

The meforshim teach that Bilaam wanted to curse Bnei Yisrael- and each time he tried, his intended curse was turned into a blessing. Thus we see with this prophecy:
it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations. הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב:

His intention was to curse the Jews that they would be a lone without any allies and thus easy to defeat. We were to bereft of any friends and allies, no earthly powers would help us, and, similarly, no divine or supernatural powers would assist us. Instead, his blessing cemented the fact that while Bnei Yisrael would not have mundane allies and would always be treated as an outsider by the nations, they would be under the protection of G-d for all time would need no one else. Bnei Yisrael would never be ordinary, they would always be seen by everyone else as being apart, special. Nobody would treat us as they do other nations and peoples, but they would hold us to different standards, place us apart just a smountains and hills rise up from the surrounding area.

This has always been true and is just as true today- Israel and Jews are held to standards that are not applied to others, and any support they receive is based on how it benefits the person not because of their being any true rapport between their allies and themselves. we just need to read a newspaper or watch the news to understand the different standards Israel and Jews are held to compared to others.

there is another aspect to this- just as we would be apart from tohers, we would never assimilate or disspear becoming just another nation amongst many. We would always exist, always be apart, always keeping to the Torah- that which differentiates us form all other nations and endears us to G-d.

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June 23, 2010 - Posted by | Current affairs, Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , ,

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