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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 22, v. 3: "Va'yogor Moav mipnei ho'om ki rav hu" - And Moav feared the nation because it is great - In Dvorim 20:9 the verse says that the bnei Yisroel should not attack Moav. If so, what was Moav's fear? The Holy Zohar 2:48b writes that when the verse says "am" or "om" it refers not to the bnei Yisroel, but rather to the "eirev rav" that joined the bnei Yisroel. If we were to say that Moav feared only the "eirev rav, - mipnei ho'OM," it would be fine, but since they converted to Judaism the command to not attack Moav is binding on them as well, and our original question remains. The gemara says that we will not accept converts in the days of Moshiach and similarly in the days when King Dovid and King Shlomo reigned converts were also not accepted. This is because in those periods of time the bnei Yisroel were exalted by all and there was a serious fear of those wanted to convert not being sincere, just that they wanted to join the most exalted and respected nation, as explained by Rashi. Those who took upon themselves Judaism without the approval of the Rabbinical court were called "geirim grurim," people who do not really have the status of Jews. The "eirev rav" did not join the bnei Yisroel in a sincere manner. Rather, they saw Hashem doing overt miracles before and during their exodus from Mitzrayim, and joined. Since they did not have the status of bnei Yisroel "ki rav hu," meaning because the bnei Yisroel are great and many, their status was that of bnei Noach, and Moav correctly feared that they would do war with them. (Malbim)

Ch. 22, v. 6: "L'cho noh orroh li" - Go now curse (for) me - The Holy Shal"oh writes that a person should be exceedingly careful to not allow a negative expression to leave his mouth, "al tiftach peh l'soton." The words of this phrase literally mean, "go now curse me." Indeed Bilom ended up saying prophecy that was a curse upon Bolok. (Par'p'ro'os laTorah)

Ch. 22, v. 6: "Asher t'bo'reich m'voroch vaasher to'ore yu'or" - Whom you will bless is blessed and whom you will curse will be cursed - Why by the blessing is the recipient's blessing in the present tense and the recipient of the curse in the future tense? The gemara Brochos 7a says that Bilom's skill was his ability to pinpoint the daily moment of Hashem's anger, i.e. strict judgment. If he were to administer a curse at that moment it would be effective. His blessings were ineffective. However, since he was a "koseim" as related in Yehoshua, he knew who was destined to be blessed. He built up a reputation of being effective with blessings by blessing someone whom he knew was blessed from Above. His cursing prowess was effective. Bolok knew this and expressed himself accordingly. "I know that whom you bless is a 'm'voroch,' an already blessed person. You cannot affect him positively. However, he whom you curse WILL BE cursed in the future, as your curse is effective." (Toras Mahari"tz)

Ch. 22, v. 12: "Lo so'ore es ho'om" - You shall not curse the nation - Why did Hashem tell Bilom not to curse the bnei Yisroel? Since Hashem blessed the bnei Yisroel obviously Bilom's curse will be ineffective, so why bother stopping him? Hashem knew that later on the bnei Yisroel would sin and would receive their just punishments. If Bilom would be allowed to curse the bnei Yisroel people would say that his cursing is powerful enough to override Hashem's blessing. This would be a great desecration of Hashem. (Yalkut Mei'am Lo'eiz)

Ch. 22, v. 12: "Ki Voruch hu" - Because it is blessed - Rashi says that upon Bilom's hearing that he should not curse the bnei Yisroel he instead offered to bless them. This is most unusual. He was a true Jew hater, so why would he offer to bless them? The gemara Mo'eid Koton 9b relates that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai sent his son to receive blessings from two of his students. He went to them and received what seemed to him as a heap of curses. Upon return to his father he complained that they caused him much anguish rather than blessing him. When he repeated what they said Rabbi Shimon explained to him that each and every statement was truly a blessing. For example, they said, "May you plant and not harvest." This meant, "May you have children born to you and not live to bury them."

Bilom, the ever eager money hungry person was concerned lest he not receive payment for his services suggested that he relate words to Bolok that sound like curses while his intention would be hidden blessings, similar to the above-mentioned gemara. Hashem responded with, "Thank you, but no thank you. They are already blessed. No sting, i.e. no outward curse, and no honey, i.e. inward intention of blessing." (Rabbi Ovadioh Yoseif)

Ch. 22, v. 18: "Laasose k'tanoh o g'doloh" - To do something small or large - On the gemara A.Z. 4b, which says that Bilom was able to pinpoint the fleeting moment during which Hashem is stringent, Tosfos d.h. "rega" asks, "What could he possibly squeeze in in this fleeting moment, and answers that he could have said 'ka'leim,' annihilate them." We know that Hashem stopped him and reversed his curse, "Va'yahafoch Hashem es hakloloh livrochoh" (Dvorim 23:6). Reversing "ka'leim" we have "melech." "Ka'leim's" three letters run from small to large. "Melech's" three letters run from large to small. Hashem did not allow him to say the negative, to ch"v annihilate them, nor the positive, that He is their king. This is the meaning of "Laasose k'tanoh o g'doloh." (Ben Ish Chai)

Ch. 22, v. 28: "Va'yiftach Hashem es pi ho'osone" - And Hashem opened the donkey's mouth - I am repeating a question I raised in a previous issue simply because I have never received what I consider a satisfactory answer. The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim writes that our verses are not to be taken literally. The donkey did not speak. Rather, it was a manner of prophetic vision that was sent as a message to Bilom. I don't understand this as in Pirkei Ovos it says that one of the items CREATED on the eve of the first Shabbos was the mouth of the donkey. The Rambam in his commentary on mishnayos says nothing. Someone recently offered me that the creation of the prophetic vision that Bilom would see, that his donkey would rebuke him was created on the eve of Shabbos. The "dochek" of this answer is obvious. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 22, v. 31: "Va'y'gal Hashem es einei Bilom va'yar" - And Hashem uncovered Bilom's eyes and he saw - Bilom was blind in one eye, as related by Rashi. Yet, our verse says that Hashem uncovered his eyeS, plural. Perhaps here, where he about to receive a great rebuke from the angel, Hashem for this moment gave him back his sight. Alternatively, since the communication with the angel was on a spiritual level, his spiritual eyes were attuned.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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