Balak, the Nemesis of Yisra’el
Parashiot Balak בָּלָק פָּרָשָׁה (Numbers 22:2-25:9) is both the 40th Parashah of the Sefer Torah and the second word within this week’s reading. Balak stands as a permanent example of anti-Semitism and is known exclusively for his great act of evil in hiring Balaam (Bil’am), a false-prophet and diviner (practitioner of the occult) for the purpose of cursing God’s people, Isra’el. Under the direction and urging of the wicked Balak, Bil’am on three occasions attempted to pronounce demonic curses against God’s chosen and did so from three selected vantage points in hopes of bringing an end to God’s people. However, in Bil’am’s attempt to curse Isra’el, blessings were only spoken forth, as seen in Numbers 24:5 and the Ma Tovu declaring,
“How lovely are your tents O Jacob, Your dwelling
places O Yisra’el.”
In retrospect, instead of pronouncing curses against God’s people, Bil’am is compelled by God’s Spirit concerning the end of days and the coming of Yeshua the Messiah!
At the end of our Parashah, we are also provided a record on how the people of Adonai fell prey to the charms of the daughters of Moab (Mo’av) and are enticed in the worship of the false-god Pe’or. In conclusion, a leader of Isra’el takes a Midianite princess into his tent and as a result, Pinchas kills them both for the purpose of cleanings the camp from impurity and sin. By so doing his act of zeal stopped a plague that was raging amongst the people!
Throughout the context of this entire Parashah, our nemesis, Balak stands at the forefront as a reminder that in every generation there have always been “Pharoah’s” who actively seek our destruction, yet at every stage of history, it is the Lord who will always guard and protect us from all harm!
From Numbers 22:3, we are reminded that,
“Mo’av was overcome with dread because there were so many of them. So Mo’av as overcome with dread because of the people of Isra’el.”
From this, we see that it has always been unrealistic fear and jealousy which has fueled much of the expression of anti-Semitism in every generation and throughout the world, thus revealing that such indifference will always transition from hateful rhetoric to acts of genocide if gone unchecked! Such a report can be quite frightening, but when we consider the faithfulness of God, we can all rest, wherein by God’s Spirit, we are empowered to walk in boldness instead of fear!
Despite these concerns, we are given hope where God will always defend His beloved as seen in His promise to Avraham,
“I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you, and from you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
Dear friends, be encouraged that no matter what trouble may come or the hate that is spoken over us by our enemies - we are always safe in the hands of the Lord, and He will never leave or forsake us.
Walk in His shalom today!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
Reflections from Parashah Balak
Taught and Published on June 26, 2021
(The 16th day the Month of Tamuz, 5781)
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