This week, we read Balak in the Book of Numbers. The portion begins as the Israelites, wandering through the desert, approach the nation of Moab. Balak, king of Moab, asks Balaam, a non-Israelite diviner, to curse the Israelites out of fear of what the Israelites might do to his people. After much back and forth, Balaam agrees to go, but to speak only what God speaks. To Balak’s disappointment, Balaam follow’s God and blesses the Israelites in the end: Ma tovu ohalecha, How goodly are your tents, O, Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel! (Numbers 24:5).
We see Balaam’s words, originally a curse... Read More