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Shabbat Reading and Commentary for the coming Shabbat BALAK

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Numbers 22:2-25:9; Micah 5:6-6:8

Digest of the Commentary of Michael Schneider, israel today, Jerusalem:
We read in our weekly Torah portion about Balak, king of Moab, who was frightened by thevictorious people of Israel after they defeated the mighty Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of (Golan)

Bashan. (Both of these battles are still remembered in daily Jewish prayers!)

Balak turned to spiritual powers for help: He called upon Balaam, a known seer, to curse Israel! We see that at first Balaam resisted the demands of the king, wanting to obey God. The king sent first messengers then princes to persuade him. God saw Balaam’s heart grow increasingly weak so He allowed him to go: “Rise up and go with them” (22:20). Balaam waited for the ‘green light’ from God. We read how quickly the next morning he packed his donkey and went.

But “God was angry because he was going” (22:22).
God used the situation to demonstrate that he can use anyone to proclaim His word, even through a talking donkey.

Later we see that instead of a cursing, Balak had to listen to a blessing on Israel (23:11 and 25) three times. He, like Pharaoh, did not give up easily and it became a power struggle between a human ruler and the “still unknown” God of Israel.

“Blessed is everyone who blesses you (Israel), and cursed is everyone who curses you.” (24:9) However, the story shows us, that the Jewish people are the most cursed people in all history! The United Nations has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than against all other nations put together including Iraq! (2006) Of the 175 resolutions of the UN (UNO) Security Council, 97 were against Israel!

On the other hand, people, companies and individuals are blessed because they bless Israel whether through practical and financial help or prayer. Yes, this formula still holds good.

One of Balaam’s blessings even became the introduction of a prayer: “How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel” (24:5).
Let it be a word of comfort to us: God can change any ordered and planned curse into a blessing!


Shabbat Shalom

See also our Currant Themes: Jewish response to Obama Cairo Speech – No Messiah, he steals Israel everything

Rabbinic Commentary:


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