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This week's Torah Portion: 

40 BALAK - BALAK - NUMBERS 22:2-25:9

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וַיַּרְא בָּלָק בֶּן־צִפֹּור אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה יִשְׂרָאֵל לָֽאֱמֹרִֽי

Vayar Balak ben-Tsipor et kol-asher-asah Yisra'el la-Emori

"Now Balak the son of Tzippor saw all that Isra'el had done to the Emori."


The power of rumor…

Balak had not only heard of what terrible acts Isra’el had committed in destroying the ‘Emori, according to the first verse of our Torah portion, he also saw it! Did he witness it firsthand? Perhaps. Perhaps he saw the aftermath of the campaign and did the mental math. Whatever the case, the fame and reputation of HaShem was becoming more and more known among the tribes of Kena’an (Canaan). The offspring of Avraham was gaining a name for themselves: “the dreadful people who have come out of Egypt.”

Indeed, the LORD was working mightily among them!

But our opening sequence has Balak, king of Mo’av (Moab) seeking a way to destroy these seemingly unstoppable and numerous people. Based on his observation of their might (because of their sheer numbers), he decides that a military campaign is futile. Therefore, he decides to fight fire with fire: he hires the top pagan prophet of his day, Bil’am (Balaam).
— Parashat Balak