by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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B'EZRAS BOREI OLOMIM V'TZIVOH AS'CHIL MACHAZOR ESSER V'SHIVOH
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BOLOK 5774 BS"D Ch. 22, v. 5: "Va'yishlach malochim el Bilom" - And he sent agents to Bilom - The pursuit of a spiritual supernatural approach to warring with the bnei Yisroel removes any vestiges of an excuse for these people. They might claim that the bnei Yisroel were bred on belief in spirituality, and they on the other hand, only held onto the doctrine of "What you see is what you believe." Although patently incorrect, it is a slight excuse. Now that they have sent people to hire Bilom to fight a spiritual fight, all this falls away and they will receive the full brunt of punishment for not believing in Hashem. (Rebbe Reb Bunim)
Ch. 22, v. 5: "Bilom" - Bilom was a bestiality pervert among other attributes. Why didn't Hashem create a spiritual leader upon whom the goyim could call who was spiritually "clean?" The spiritual leaders cannot rise above the level of the nations they represent. We even find that after the sin of the golden calf that Hashem told Moshe to descend somewhat from his previous high level, "Leich reid migdulos'cho" in response to the nation's spiritual descent. The best those nations could produce was as stated above. (Ma'yonoh Shel Torah)
Ch. 22, v. 5: "Hi'nei am yotza miMitzrayim" - Behold a nation has left Egypt - Why mention this? Bolok knew that Bilom's powers were based in black magic. He therefore sent a message that the bnei Yisroel left Egypt and no doubt absorbed great magical skills. He was actually saying, "You have your work cut out for you." (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 22, v. 12: "Lo seileich imohem lo so'ore es ho'om ki voruch hu" - Do not accompany them do not curse the nation as it is blessed - Once Hashem commanded Bilom to not curse the bnei Yisroel what difference does it make if he accompanies them or not? Hashem wanted Bilom to no even lay his eyes on the bnei Yisroel and bring an evil eye, "ayin hora," upon them. (Sforno)
There seems to be a grammatical issue with our expression "ayin hora" as well as with "loshon hora." Organs of the body that come in pairs and are expressed in the plural with an "ayim" ending, "yodayim, raglayim, apayim, oznaim," are female form. Examples: regel y'shoroh, ozen shomaas, ayin ro'oh, etc. As well, "loshon" is female form, "loshon m'da'berres g'dolos." If so, why don't we say "ayin horo'oh" and "loshon horo'oh?" My waning memory tells me that I once heard from MRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki ztvkllh"h that "loshon hora" means the tongue of the bad person. Likely we can apply this to one who gives an evil eye, "ayin hora," the eye of an evil person. There is a powerful and scary message in this, that a person who speaks "loshon hora" or a person who invokes an "ayin hora" receives the appellation "ra."
Ch. 22, v. 20: "Koom leich itom" - Arise go with them - Back in verse 12 Hashem clearly said "Lo seileich imohem." Why the change? We have dealt with this in previous issues, where some wonderful answers were offered. A new offering: When Bolok sent simple agents Hashem told Bilom to not go. The outside world, when reading that Hashem prohibited him from accompanying them, would say that Hashem was telling Bilom that it was not becoming to have an entourage of such simple escorts. Here, the second time, Bolok had sent his upper echelons. If Hashem would have prohibited Bilom people would readily say there could be no other reason than Bilom's power of curse being very potent, so Hashem let him go, but again Hashem warned him that his mouth was not under his own control. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 22, v. 22: "Ushnei n'orov imo" - And his two youths were with him - They were thus a total of three travelers. The gemara says that when three or more travel together the angels of destruction are not visible. This is why Bilom did not see the angel right away. (Sforno)
Ch. 22, v. 29: "Ki atoh haragtich" - So that I could now kill you - Notwithstanding that Bilom just injured his leg and could not walk well, and that he was mid-trip, thus his need for reliable transportation was acute, his uncontrollable anger brought him to say that he would now kill the donkey had he had a sword at hand. (Imrei Shefer)
Ch. 22, v. 32: "Al moh hikiso es asoncho" - With what justification have you smitten your donkey - Until now Bilom did not see the angel. The donkey did not cooperate to travel further. This seems ample reason to hit it so that it get up and travel. The angel's complaint was based on Bilom's hearing from Hashem that he not curse the bnei Yisroel. He was going to try his hardest to go anyhow, hoping to be allowed to curse them ch"v. When his donkey had a "flat tire" he should have understood that this was from Hashem. (K'dushas Levi)
Ch. 22, v. 36: "Va'yeitzei likroso el ir Moav al g'vul Arnon asher biktzei hagvul" - And he went out towards him to the city of Moav at the border of Arnon which is at the end of the border - Why does the Torah bother with such precise detailing of the location? The gemara asks how Hashem appeared to the Prophet Yechezkeil outside of Eretz Yisroel. One of the gemara's answers is that the prophecy took place at the river Kvor, a body of water, a pure location. Similarly here we can wonder how Hashem appeared to Bilom outside Eretz Yisroel. This is why the Torah tells us that Bilom went to meet Bolok at the edge of the border. There was a river at Arnon which delineated between it and the next country. (Tiferes Y'honoson)
This answer seems to not satisfy Hashem's speaking to Bilom earlier, not at a body of water. As well, the rule mentioned above only applies after the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel. The torah is replete with Hashem's communicating with people outside Eretz Yisroel before the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel.
Ch. 23, v. 9: "Uvagoyim lo yis'chashov" - And among the nations they will not be reckoned - A repeat from a previous issue: "Uvagoyim," and when the bnei Yisroel ch"v mix with the goyim, then "lo yis'chashov." When "Uvagoyim lo," and among the goyim they do not mix, then "yis'chashov," they are worthy.
Ch. 23, v. 10: "Umispar rova Yisroel" - And counting rova of Yisroel - The bnei Yisroel were encamped in four groups under the four flags. Bilom only saw one camp of the four. He said that he could not even count a 1/4th of them. (Daas Z'keinim)
Ch. 23, v. 23: "Ko'eis yei'o'meir l'Yaakov ulYisroel mah po'al Keil" - At a time it will be said to Yaakov and to Yisroel what has G-d wrought - At the time preceding the coming of Moshiach the challenges will be so great that not only the lower level bnei Yisroel, called Yaakov, but even the higher level, called Yisroel, will question, What has G-d wrought. (Holy Admor of Rizhin)
Ch. 24, v. 3: "Sh'soom ho'oyin" - Opened of one eye - Bilom only had vision in one eye. Rabbi Mordechai of Nesh'chiz and others say that the purpose of mankind having two eyes is so that with one eye he can see the greatness of Hashem, while with the other eye his own insignificance. Bilom only had the use of the eye that saw the greatness of Hashem, "V'yo'dei'a daas elyon," but lacked the eye that saw his own smallness (see Pirkei Ovos, "Mah bein talmidei Avrohom l'talmidei Bilom").
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