Parashas Balak is somewhat peculiar as Balak seeks a strategy to deflect the might of the Jews. The Torah states that Balak saw what the Jewish People had one to the Emorites, i.e. Sichon and Og. These two giants were supposed to protect Moav from enemy nations and they were defeated by the Jewish People. Moav turned to Balaam as their savior, with the thought that Balaam’s powerful curses would defeat the Jewish People without having to engage them in a physical battle. Yet, HaShem stymied Balaam’s efforts and despite Balk’s pleading and cajoling, Balaam was unable to curse the Jewish People.
What was Balak’s and Balaam’s strategy to weaken or even decimate the Jewish People. In essence, they sought to exploit the vulnerabilities of the Jewish People. Balak, seeing that Balaam’s curses weren’t bearing fruit, would encourage him to “come with me to another location, perhaps you will see something that you didn’t see until now.” All these grand plans of visions were for naught, as the Jewish People were ensconced in the Clouds of Glory, living a modest life, in contrast to Balaam’s immoral character and depraved lifestyle. Balaam went so far as to question the morality of HaShem Himself, as the Gemara (Niddah 31a) states that Balaam said, “is it possible that HaShem, who is pure and His Ministering angels are pure, can gaze at such acts, i.e. the Jewish People cohabiting together?” Balaam was punished for this vulgar utterance, and he was blinded in one eye. Why did HaShem not blind Balaam in both eyes? The answer to this question is that Balaam was a man of vision, but his vision was skewed. True, on the surface, marital relations appears coarse and vulgar, but when one has a Torah perspective, one will understand that this the loftiest act that one can engage in on earth, as cohabitation is akin to connecting with the Divine Presence. Balaam’s failure to recognize this was the catalyst for his blindness. Balak too was gifted with great vision, but he could not even see that with the merit of his sacrifices, he would merit a descendant like Rus, the mother of the Davidic dynasty. In summation, how one uses one’s visions is what will determine his success in life. Balaam’s ability to curse, his unbridled desire for fame and wealth, all served as a deterrent to growth and ultimately led to his downfall, as the Jewish People killed him by the sword. Instead of using his mouth and his many talents to bless the Jewish People and find favor in HaShem’s eyes, he squandered the opportunity and is being punished in Gehinnom for eternity.
HaShem should open our eyes to gain a healthy perspective on life and we should merit “seeing” Mosaic Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a VISIONARY Shabbos!
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Balak 5776
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