Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Balak
To dedicate this lesson

A Very Pessimistic Man


Rabbi Haggai Lundin

Tamuz 11 5780
Our Rabbis tell us that Bilaam knew how to aim for the instant each day in which God is "angry". In other words, he was a brilliant, critical, and pessimistic person who knew how to identify a weak point at any given moment.

Bilaam knew how to "lekalel, lecharef and lakov", three different terms for cursing: The word "klala", curse, from the source "KL", to cynically explain how everything is trivial and worthless; "lecharef" - to disparage everyone by cutting intellectual analysis; "lakov" - from the source of NKV - to pierce - to perforate and destroy the credibility of those standing in front of him.

Today, there are people whose profession is cursing. They are very talented and very clever people, with the gift of brilliant and glittering speech - whose message is that the life is bad - that everyone is lying, and that everyone is deceitful; they have a pessimistic vision that the world is going to ruin.

These voices are heard louder when the world is in distress.

We must not listen to them!

We must not listen to them, but not because they are talking nonsense. They know how to identify the correct problems, but they are losing the forest for the trees.

In the end, Bilaam is forced to admit that "Mah tovu ohalecha Yaakov, mishkenotecha Yisrael" - how good are your tents Jacob; your tabernacles, Israel. The good tents of the Jewish people, the inner modesty - these are what are victorious. While looking at the "Rosh Tzurim", the mountain tops, - we connect to the peak of the mountain, to the strong root of life; when looking at a small baby, at a plant that grows - we are filled with optimism and faith.

Bottom line, everyone feels deep in their heart that the world is not bad. Despite all the difficulties, despite all the disappointments, it will be good. Someone is up there.

The bad will pass.
The good will prevail.
With the help of God.
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