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RABBI CHAIM LOBEL הרב חיים לובל

This week is Parshat Balak
Candle Lighting Friday 7/6/12 8:11 PM NYC DST
Rabbi Chaim Lobel – Young Israel of Aberdeen
www.yiaberdeen.com



 

Excuses – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)

Balak, the King of Moab was frightened by what Israel had done to the mighty Emorite kings, Sihon and Og. He sent messengers to Bilam to help him defeat Israel by weakening them through imprecation. Bilam, however, did not go with Balak's messengers. “Return to your land for G-d refuses to allow me to go with you” (Numbers 22:13). Balak sent messengers a second time but Bilam stood his ground. “If Balak were to give me a house full of silver and gold, I would be unable to transgress the word of G-d” (Numbers 22:18).

G-d allowed Bilam to travel with the messengers of Balak with the condition that Bilam can only do or say what G-d places in his mind.

When Bilam traveled to Balak, King of Moab, G-d was unhappy with Bilam's intentions. God sent forth an angel and warned Balak that, if he does not follow G-d's instructions, he will perish.

Bilam made three attempts to curse Israel but failed. Each time, Bilam was forced to say what G-d had placed in his mind – blessings.

Apparently even the prophets of the nations of the world understand that G-d alone controls the universe.

Gersonides (Toelet Hashlishi; Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, France; 1288- 1344) asks, if G-d controls every facet of the world what difference does it make if Bilam curses the Jewish people? Why is it necessary to warn Bilam numerous times to not curse Israel? The Ralbag answers that G-d was doing this for Israel's benefit. G-d did not want Bilam to curse Israel for one reason; the next time G-d punishes Israel, the Jews should know their suffering is punishment for their sins and not because of someone’s curse.

Bilam’s curse would have provided the Jewish Nation with an excuse to not repent for their mistakes – the next time G-d punishes Israel. G-d taught us that Israel has no excuses by making sure Bilam does not curse the Jewish people. From this week’s portion, we learn that Israel's punishments, for their lack of Teshuva, repentance, came directly from G-d and not from any other source.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 
   
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