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Archive for June 25th, 2010

Parshat Balak – More Certainty – Good or Bad

Posted by rabbiart on June 25, 2010

Reflecting further on the parshah before Shabbes arrives… There’s an awful lot of certainty going on. And I fight it impossible to avoid thinking about “the flotilla” that happened, and the next “flotilla” that is forming, who is blessed, who is cursed, who is certain he is right because of his faith, and who has faith to be less certain.

Balak knows – that the Israelites threaten him and he must respond.
Balak knows – that the Israelites must be cursed.
Balak knows – that Balaam has the power – whoever Balaam blesses will be blessed; whoever he curses will be cursed.
Balaam knows – that he can only do what HaShem allows; he cannot go beyond the boundaries set for him by HaShem.
The donkey knows – there’s an angel blocking the road.
Balaam knows – the donkey is stupid and must be beaten into submission.
Balak knows – if he commands Balaam then he (Balaam) will obey.
Pinhas knows – its his right and duty to kill the offending couple.

Who is right, who is wrong? As Buffalo Springfield put it many moons ago …
“There’s battle lines being drawn, Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”.

Balak is wrong, the Israelites are not a threat to him, for as they have traveled, they have asked only for passage on the public road.  In last week’s parshah we see the Israelites simply asking for safe passage on the public road, and promising not to stray from it, promising not to eat from the field or drink from the wells, but Sihon refuses to allow it, picks a fight, and is defeated.

Balaam is wrong, to think that he should go and curse the Israelites.

Pinhas is – to my sensibility – wrong to kill although right to be offended.

The words that resonate most to me come from the mouth of an ass “What have I done to you that you keep hitting me?”

Ancient times are like modern times, complex conflicts, complex peoples, and the biggest danger is from those who just KNOW they are RIGHT, it’s a pretty song, but not a pretty picture.

“What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side”

Pray for the day when faith is strong… so strong that certainty can be put aside, and we can all learn to be on the same side.

Shabbat Shalom


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