Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Balak 5776

Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Balak 5776

This Shabbat we read from Parashat Balak, one of the most unusual stories we find in the Torah as it includes a talking donkey. Yet the context for how we arrive at this surprising moment is one that we should find startlingly similar to our modern times. There exists a foreign king, Balak, who wants to bring harm to the Israelite people and hires Bil’am to be his agent of evil. That, in and of itself, sounds familiar enough as does the fact that Bil’am has no moral issue with being an agent of curse and destruction against another. We know all too well that there are those in the world who seek to bring us harm on their own and with the help of others. In the story of this week’s Torah portion that effort comes to a halt thanks to the efforts of God putting a voice into a donkey. In our time, we always should remember to rely on ourselves to stop the evil from befalling us, not that talking donkeys aren’t also helpful from time to time…

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Hillel Skolnik

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