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Israel . Balak-12 Tammuz-No Jew Will Be Left
Behind . NYC Candle lighting 8:12 .
Shabbat ends 9:20 . Pirkei Avot 5
July 10 and 11 Tachanun
is not said
BALAK - 12 TAMMUZ - NO JEW WILL BE LEFT BEHIND
Shalom and Bracha!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Shalom and Chag Sameach,
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.
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KOSHER DELIGHT MAGAZINE