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Feeling like a Balak? There's a solution

Friday, 3 July, 2015 - 5:00 pm


A word on the news this week – our Parsha, and how it relates to you and me.


The Jewish people were in the desert, a juggernaut on the way to the promised land. Balak, king of Moab, whose land wasn’t even threatened, called upon Bilaam, the non-Jewish prophet and soothsayer to curse the Jewish people and bring down destruction.


At the end, Bilaam ends up being lectured to by a donkey and against his will utters the most beautiful praises of the Jewish people (the Mah Tovu prayer we say daily comes from there). Additionally, prophecy about the time to come, the era of Moshiach is prophesied through him.


Why is an entire Parshah of Torah named after Balak, King of Moab, who hated the Jewish people most of all their enemies?


One reason:


Balak is the Parshah of the future, where bad is transformed to good and curses emerge as blessings. Bilaam himself, the pinnacle of evil, comes to a recognition of the truth of G-d and turns into the biggest of friends—albeit temporarily but his words remain eternal.


Balak is us! He saw, our sages tell us, that a great lineage would stem from him and this gave him importance. Indeed, Ruth the Moabite, who converted to Judaism, was the great-grandmother of King David, and his descendant, Moshiach, the Moses-like messenger G-d will send to bring about world transformation for eternal good.


You might feel like a Balak. You might have messed up and acted inappropriately for a person created in the image of G-d, for child of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Sara, Rivka Rachel and Leah.


Don’t be dejected. Don’t give up. You are a part of the story of bringing this world to perfection. Each one of us is an inseparable part of this. Instead of looking at what you did wrong, look at who you still are, and what you can do.


When you meet another person who looks like a Balak, remember this: deep down it is your brother or sister, who has a glorious future and potential.


And when we act with joy, seeing the positive in ourselves and others, we will bring this to the world at large, and celebrate the ultimate, eternal joy, open for all to see.


A Shabbat Shalom and happy independence day – independence from the rule of monarchs from abroad, but never independent of the love, blessing, and moral guidance of the One Above. 

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