Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Parshas Balak - "One Step in the Wrong Direction"


This is the first of a series of catch up posts that I am doing while on vacation with my family. I'm sorry for missing these Parshios. I will Bli Neder try not to make this a habit in the future.

FUNFACT/QUICKIE: “VaYomer Moav El Ziknei Midian Ata Yilachichu HaKehal Es Kol Sivivosav Kilachech HaShor Es Yerek Hasadeh…etc.”

It makes sense to explain why the parable of the ox eating the vegetables is specifically apropos in this case. The reason for this is because it is not the way of an Ox to eat vegetables, they usually just eat grass. The vegetable is in fact unique to the diet of the human. When the ox eats the grass on the edge of the garden he reaches with his long tongue and subsequently eats a few of the vegetables from the side of the field. This is what the Moabite elders said to Midian. They said that after the Israelites beat the Amorite people and after they inherit the lands of Sihon and Og (they were the crux of their inheritance) they will subconsciously destroy all of the nations on their borders. Just like the ox eats the vegetables on the side of the garden.

“VaYiftach Hashem Es Pi HaAson VaTomer LiBilaam Ma Asisi Lach Ki Hikisani Shalosh Rigalim”

Rashi on this Pasuk emphasizes that the pasuk specifically says the terminology shalosh regalim because it is a hint that Bilaam is trying to uproot the nation that celebrates the three rigalim. Nevertheless this still requires further explanation. In what way does this pasuk specifically point to it being that Jewish people who specifically believe in these three holidays?

It seems that the donkey truthfully wanted to explain to Bilaam why he refused to move. It didn’t want to move because it did not want to go even one step against the will of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. It is written in Sota 22a that if there are 2 Synogogues, One close, and one far, it is appropriate that the man walk to the farther house of prayer because there is more of a reward for walking more steps to get there. It must be mentioned at this point that there is no idea like this anywhere else in the Torah. Only by this case when talking about the length between the 2 Synagogues is there discussion concerning excess reward that would be received.

The truth is that the idea of receiving a reward for walking somewhere is not concerning the walk to Synogogue but it is because of the shalosh regalim and the aliyah laregel. The farther that people came to pay homage to the temple the greater the reward. Therefore it is important to mention this by Shuls also because they are considered to be a small Beis HaMikdash.

This is exactly what the donkey was telling Bilaam. He was telling Bilaam, “You want me to walk extra steps to go against Hashem.” In response the donkey responded negatively by refusing to walk even an extra inch to walk against the will of Hashem. He was saying that just like there is a reward for every step there is also a punishment for every negative step taken.

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