25 June 2021

"When Edom's Power Is Broken"

15 Tammuz 5781
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Balak

From the Commentary on the Stone Edition Chumash...

Balaam, prophet of the nations.  God, in His wisdom, ordained that the gentile nations should have a prophet, who would be comparable to Moses - though much inferior to him - so that they would not be able to contend that if only they had had someone who could communicate to them the will of God, they would have been as righteous as Israel.  Balaam was that prophet.  This Sidrah revolves around his ability to curse and his attempts, commissioned by King Balak of Moab, to curse the advancing nation of Israel.  The Sages teach that there is an instant every day when God is "angry" (Avodah Zarah 4a; Berachos 7a),  meaning that He judges sinners at that time.  Clearly, someone who is guilty of transgressions is most vulnerable at that instant, and it was Balaam's "talent" to know when that moment was at hand.  A curse at that time could subject its victim to such Divine judgment.  Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel, but God thwarted his plan by not sitting in judgment on that day (ibid.).  This Sidrah tells of Balaam's repeated futile attempts, and God's insistence that he bless Israel.  So significant were these blessings that the Sages even considered making them part of the daily Shema prayers.  God wanted these sublime blessings to come to Israel through the agency of the wicked and immoral Balaam, so that all the world would know that everyone is helpless to harm Israel against God's will (Shelah).

In Balaam's famous reference to the kochav miYa'aqov, we tend to focus on this reference to the revelation of Mashiach, but the two succeeding verses predict something equally astounding:   "Edom shall be a conquest and Seir shall be the conquest of his enemies - and Israel will attain success.  One from Ya'aqov shall rule and destroy the remnant of the city."

Again, from the same Commentary...

Seir and Edom - the two names of Esau's descendants - will fall to his enemy, Israel, and become its possession.  Verse 19 [of chapter 24] concludes this aspect of the prophecy by saying that Israel will dominate Edom and destroy its most prominent city (Rashi).  This describes the End of Days, because the current dispersion is called the Edomite Exile, during which Israel is considered to be under the dominion of Edom.  This will end when Edom's power is broken (Ramban).

~ ~ ~ 

Quote from the Haftarah "He has told you, O man, what is good, and what Hashem seeks from you:  only the performance of justice, the love of kindness, and walking humbly with your God." 

 ~ Shabbat Shalom ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We should clarify that Bilaam almost had the power as great as Moshe, but the big difference is Bilam was pure evil(sorcery) and the power of Moshe was purely good. H' allowed power also to the other side (evil/black magic).