Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: June 29, 2020

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This Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion BALAK Numbers22:2-25:9, demonstrates the scope of the Israelites’ reputation during their desert travels. Balak, the king of Moab, hears what befell the Amorites when they stood up to God’s people and decides he does not want to meet a similar fate. He opts to hire Balaam, a Midianite sorcerer known for the power of his blessings and curses, to rid him of the pesky nation approaching his borders.

What follows is a display of God’s will triumphing over man’s intentions as He thwarts Balaam’s every move. Finally, the portion ends with the Children of Israel, oblivious to God’s recent salvation, sinning and being punished with a plague. Only the actions of the quick-thinking Phineas are enough to stop God’s wrath.

Topic 1: Hiring a Sorcerer
Balak, king of Moab, is determined to protect his people from the nation camped in the plains of Moab. He sends messengers to known sorcerer Balaam, asking him to come curse the Israelites. Balaam insists he can only do what God allows him and consults with God in a dream. God tells Balaam not to… Read More »

Topic 2: Curses and Blessings
Three times Balaam sets out to curse the Children of Israel on behalf of Balak and three times he fails. Each time, Balak takes him to a different vantage point from which he can see less and less of the Israelites. Balaam has Balak set up seven altars, upon which he offers seven bullocks and… Read More »

Topic 3: Sin at Shittim
While the Israelites are encamped at Shittim, they begin to sin with the daughters of Moab, joining in their idolatrous practices. God instructs Moses to take the tribal leaders and mete out justice against the sinners. As Moses instructs the judges to slay those who have sinned, one man brings forth a Midianite woman… Read More »

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