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Daily Aliya for Balak, Revii (4th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Upon Bilaam’s instructions, Balak builds seven altars and offers sacrifices to G‑d. G‑d “chances” upon Bilaam, and dictates to him the words he should repeat to Balak and his ministers: “From Aram, Balak the king of Moab has brought me, from the mountains of the east: ‘Come, curse Jacob for me and come invoke wrath against Israel.’ How can I curse whom G‑d has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the L-rd has not been angered?…” Bilaam then proceeded to shower the Israelites with beautiful blessings and praises. When Balak responds angrily to the blessings, Bilaam reminds him that he can only say that which G‑d tells him to say.

This is the origin of the bait-and-switch! Bilaam was brought in to curse the Jews, and instead praises them, boldly stating that he cannot curse those that have done nothing wrong to deserve curses. What? Did we not read over the last few weeks about how the Jews complained about their situation and wanting to go back to Egypt? This is the ultimate proof that G-d forgives the Jews for their misdeeds, because someone skilled at finding minute faults that would allow curses to take hold couldn’t find any faults to do so to the Jews.

Shlomo Ressler