Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha
This parsha sheet is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan,Z"L.May it be a merit for his soul.
" And Balaam Ben Beor, they (Israelites) killed with a sword." (31:8)The Medyanites wished to fight the Israelites, but did not know how. Balaam advised them to use immorality as a weapon against the Israelites. Balaam knew that this would anger G-d, and cause the Israelites to have a down fall. G-d then commanded the Israelites to fight a war with the Medyanites. During this war, Balaam was killed by a sword. Why does the Torah have to inform us concerning the means by which Balaam was killed? Why is this important? I would like to propose the following original answer, Bezrat Hashem: However, before we do that , another question must be asked. How could Balaam advise the Medyanites on how to fight the Israelites? Wasn't he aware that he would be punished for such an act? Why would he endanger himself? In actuality, Balaam felt that he was far removed from sin in this regard. Firstly, he did not force the Medyanites to accept his advise, and even if they would follow his advise--the Israelites do not have to necessarily be tempted to sin. Balaam felt that there were too many factors that have to be met before the trail can be traced to him.Yet, the Torah tells us that he was surely mistaken in this regard. Balaam was definitely tainted. In this way, we can now begin to understand why Balaam was killed by the means of a sword. In Exodus (20:22), we find the commandment that it is forbidden to build the Alter of stones touched by a metal object (Sword).The reason for this is given in Middos-3, namely that since the Alter's main function is to provide a means by which Israel can be forgiven for sins committed, it is inappropriate that it should be built with an instrument which is used to shed blood (i.e, iron). In other words, iron is tainted in that weapons can be produced from it . We see from this that anything tainted is guilty by association. Similarly, Balaam was the means by which destruction was being promulgated in the world. He might have been removed, yet he was definitely tainted just like metal objects are in regard to the Alter. It was, thereby, appropriate that he be killed by a sword.This is precisely the connection between Balaam and the sword. We must all be acutely aware of the consequences of our actions even if we can possibly find a way to remove ourselves from guilt. Have a good Shabbos
This article is
provided as part of Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Feedback is Appreciated at email@example.com