Parashat Balak: A Summary
This week’s portion is one of the most fascinating psychologically revealing portions in the whole Torah! Bilaam, a non-Jewish prophet, was granted a level of prophecy close to Moses’ level of prophecy. The Almighty gave Bilaam these powers so that the nations of the world could not say at some point in the future, “If we had a prophet like Moses, we too would have accepted the Torah and would have lived according to it.” Bilaam is an intriguing character – honour-driven, arrogant and self-serving. Unfortunately, not too unique amongst mankind.
Balak, the king of Moav, wanted to hire Bilaam to curse the Jewish people for a fortune of money. It is interesting that Balak believed in G-d and the power of invoking a curse from G-d yet thought that G-d would change His mind about His Chosen People (G-d is not one to changes His mind). Bilaam was very desirous of the assignment to curse the Jews – more for the profit motive than the prophet motive.