Worried that the Hebrew tribes are an unstoppable military force, Moab’s king Balak commissions the non-Jewish prophet Balaam to curse the Hebrews before they can turn their attention to Moab. Balaam then sets out on his donkey to do what he does best and that’s curse the enemies of Moab. While on his way to rain down curses Balaam’s donkey seeing an Angel of the L~rd refuses to continue. Incensed, Balaam begins to beat his ride when Hashem opens the mouth of the donkey who pleads to know why Balaam is blind towards the angel. Parsha Balak is such an important portion not only because it’s a crowd pleaser (like you never giggle when the “A” word is dropped in Shul) but because it reiterates that Hashem is not just a “Jew” thing: He is a “for everybody” thing.
Sometimes its easy to see the world as an Us versus Them place while the true reality is much more uniform we are all in some way both the Us and the Them. Hashem created us all but because of the juices from the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in our DNA we can choose to stray. Balaam teaches us this message today and we can focus on the path ahead or allow ourselves to be diverted. Hashem is not only for the Jewish people He is for all humanity and all nations.
Parsha Balak is such a great Torah portion it is straight forward, simple to understand, interesting, and there is no hidden message. Hashem is the one true G~d and humanity like it or not is one people.
Leave your thoughts below or send me a message: Jeremiah@punktorah.org Twitter: @circlepitbimah