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B”H

BALAK - 12 TAMMUZ  - NO JEW WILL BE LEFT BEHIND
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

 

---

Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portion of Balak. This coming Thursday (July 10th) is the twelfth of Tammuz, a festival that marks the release of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneerson, from soviet communist prison and Siberian exile for having spread Judaism. Balak was a gentile prince and sorcerer who was the leader of Moav, a neighbor of Israel. Seeing the miraculous success of the Jewish people in conquering the neighboring lands of Sichon and Og in last week’s portion, he feared for his nation’s safety. He hired Bilam, an evil prophet and sorcerer, to curse the Jewish people that he might be rid of them. Bilam was happy to accept the position, being both money hungry and a rabid anti-Semite. As he had always succeeded in his curses, he felt sure to succeed again.

Hashem had other plans. After several attempts to discourage him, Hashem allowed Bilam to accompany Balak on his wicked mission. Each timed he attempted to curse the Jewish people, the curses became blessings. The blessings are so significant that some of them (Mah Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov) are included in our daily prayers. After the third attempt, he himself admitted that the Jewish people were worthy of blessing and that he admired them. Rashi explains that from the content of Bilam’s blessings we can derive what his intended curses were. A deeper understanding of Rashi is that Hashem brought forth the underlying good behind each of the curses. Everything in the world is ultimately good, in that it leads to the ultimate perfection of the world. However, that goodness can be concealed. Intense goodness is often so powerful it can only enter the world in a concealed manner. Hashem revealed the goodness hidden in Bilam’s intended curses. Among Bilam’s blessings was that Hashem overlooks the faults of the Jewish people. This is a valuable lesson for us in receiving Hashem’s blessings.

Thereafter, Bilam said a prophecy concerning the coming of Moshiach. The Rambam considers this prophecy to be one of the most open references in the Torah concerning Moshiach. Seemingly, why do value the blessings of an evil sorcerer and his prophecy concerning Moshiach? The blessings of Moshe would seem far more desirable and his prophecies more significant!

Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) teaches that “I have seen that there is a quality in light from darkness.” Chassidut explains that Shlomo is not simply telling us that light is better than darkness. He is saying that there exists a special light, a light that comes from darkness. There are intense sparks of Divine energy hidden in places of spiritual darkness and evil. When revealed and transformed to open goodness, their intensity outshines normal light and goodness. Bilam’s blessing is the light of those sparks.

Moshiach will perfect the entire world. There will be no corner of the world that will remain unredeemed. The prophecy concerning Moshiach was transmitted through Bilam in order to demonstrate the even the lowest and darkest aspects of the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem.

Regarding the 12th of Tammuz the Rebbe proclaimed that The Holy One, blessed be He, not only redeemed myself, but rather everyone who holds the Torah and Mitzvot dear and anyone who is referred to as a Jew. He also taught that unlike the Exodus from Egypt, every Jew will be a part of the redemption through Moshiach. May we celebrate this 12th of Tammuz together with Moshiach and as a united people return to Israel.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,


Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated to my daughter Shoshi and Shlomie Litvin on the occasion of their engagement. May Hashem’s blessings fill every aspect their lives and may their home be the epitome of the Rebbe’s goals.

A Project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807 


 
   
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