Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Balak 5777

Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Balak 5777

This Shabbat we read from Parashat Balak, one of three portions in the Torah named for people who were not a member of the Israelites (the other two are Yitro, who was Moshe’s father-in-law, and Noach who was a righteous man in his generation but predated the Israelite people).  Although the Parasha is named for King Balak of Moav, the main character of the story is Bil’am ben B’orBil’am the son of B’or – who was hired by King Balak to go out and curse the Israelite people.  At the end of an engaged struggle to accomplish this mission, a struggle which included an argument with a talking donkey, it eventually becomes clear to Bil’am that God will not allow him to curse the Israelites.  Rather, God puts words of blessing in Bil’am’s mouth which are then offered to the Israelites.   It always reminds me when my day didn’t go as I had originally planned that at least I didn’t end up arguing with a talking donkey…

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Hillel Skolnik