Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Balak
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An Overview of the Torah Portion

Parasha Summary - Balak

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Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Balak, king of Moav, fears Bnei Yisrael. He summons Bilam, a renowned sorcerer, to curse them. First, G-d forbids Bilam to go. But because Bilam is so insistent,
G-d appears to him a 2nd time & permits him to go.

En route, an angel blocks Bilam's donkey's path. Frustrated, Bilam strikes the donkey each time it stops. Miraculously, the donkey speaks, asking Bilam why he is hitting her. The angel instructs Bilam what he may or may not say about the Jewish People.

When Bilam arrives, Balak makes elaborate preparations, hoping Bilam will succeed in the curse. 3 times Bilam attempts to curse Israel; 3 times blessings issue forth from him instead. Balak, seeing that Bilam has failed, sends him home in disgrace.

Bnei Yisrael sin with the Moabite women & Moabite idols & are punished with a plague. Zimri, a Jewish leader, brazenly brings a Midianite princess into his tent in full view of Moshe & the people. Pinchas, a grandson of Aharon, grabs a spear & kills both evildoers. This halts the plague sent by G-d, but not before 24,000 have died.
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