Vol 28.20 - Balak 1                          Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5744) Rashi (Num. 22:21): "saddled his she-donkey" The difference betweeen the wording of Rashi and Chazal in Talmud (Sanh.105b) and Midrash (Ber. Rabah 55:8); and the difference in Halacha


This week's Torah portion, Balak, contains the famous prophecy of Bilaam, the gentile prophet who was hired to curse the Jews, but who ended up blessing them instead.

"For from the top of rocks I see him, and from hills I behold him," Bilaam began.

Bilaam's entire prophecy is couched in symbolism. Rashi, the great Torah commentator, explained the meaning of Bilaam's words: "I have looked back to their beginning and to the origins of their roots: I see they are as stable and secure as these rocks and hills, because of their Patriarchs and Matriarchs."

The Torah itself tells us that Bilaam's prophecy is allegorical, prefacing his words with the verse, "And he took up his parable, and said."

Bilaam, therefore, was not only describing the physical location where he stood, but was expressing a deeper concept, one pertaining to a vital attribute of the Jewish people.

But why was it necessary for Bilaam to resort to allusions?

Why couldn't he have said exactly what he meant?

In general, allegorical terms are necessary only when the subject matter does not lend itself to "regular" terminology.

Deep and profound concepts are sometimes difficult to express in simple language. In such cases, an allegory is best suited for expressing these ideas.

Bilaam, with his gift of prophecy, was able to discern the eternal strength and power of the Jewish people.

"Rocks" and "hills" were the closest he could come to expressing this in human terms.

An allegory was necessary because the unique strength of the Jewish people, the inheritance of their forefathers, is unlike any other force in the world - for it is a strength of the spirit and of the Jewish soul.

When speaking of physical matter, the larger and more substantial an object is, the stronger and mightier it is perceived to be.

But the strength of the Jewish people lies not in their physical might, but is directly proportional to the depth of their submission to G-d.

The true strength of a Jew lies in his capacity for self- sacrifice, his willingness to forfeit his very life for G-d if need be.

Every Jew, when put to the ultimate test, is unwilling to be severed from his Source for even a minute.

This spiritual power is what distinguishes the Jewish nation from all others, at it states, "For it is a people that dwells alone, and is not considered among the nations."

This spiritual strength is the inheritance of every Jew, passed down from our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

Unlike physical characteristics that fluctuate from generation to generation, this inheritance remains just as strong today as it was thousands of years ago, for it comes from a holiness that is eternal and not subject to change.

Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, Vol. 28 - http://www.lchaimweekly.org/lchaim/5768/1028.htm




Gutnick Chumash
Gutnick Chumash

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