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Daily Aliya for Chukat, Shvi’i (7th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Before leaving, Bilaam prophesies about the end of days: “I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel which will crush the princes of Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth…” He also speaks about the eventual destruction of Esav, Amalek and Assyria. Following Bilaam’s unsuccessful attempt to curse the Jewish nation, Moabite and Midianite women seduce many Jewish men. In the course of their seduction, they also entice the Jewish man to worship the Baal Peor deity. G‑d commands Moses to execute the guilty people, and simultaneously a lethal plague erupts amongst the Jews. A Jewish leader, Zimri, publicly displays the Midianite princess with whom he was consorting. Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, kills them both, and the plague is halted.

Passuk (verse) 14 says “I’m leaving… but I’ll advise you of what will happen to your people” (they’ll be destroyed). Telling Balak that his people will be destroyed doesn’t seem like advice at all. What he could have been telling him was that although you’re ultimately doomed to fail and lose, if you want to succeed temporarily, baiting the Jews into immorality would work, and it did. Why tell him he’s doomed to fail? I think Passuk 25 tells it all: “Bilaam got up, left, went home, and Balak went on his way”. Balak going on his way sounds like he continued on his original path of attempting to destroy the Jews, regardless of his previous and now FUTURE failures. Truly a lost cause.