This week’s Torah Portion is Balak and it discussess the incident with a non-Jewish prophet named Balaam and Balak (king of Moab).
What happened when Sichon didn’t let the Jewish people pass? (One of the Kings of Moab)
The Jewish people asked him if they could pass through his land. They mentioned that they wouldn’t eat, drink, touch the vineyards or fields and not veer off the highway into the territories. He met the Jewish people at his boarder and decided that he would fight them till the end. G-d made the Jewish people victorious and defeated Sichon.
What did Balak the King of Moab decide after hearing about Sichon?
He decided that he would call upon Balaam. Balaam was a prophet and was known through out the world that what he said always came true. He summoned G-d and asked if he should go. G-d said not to go with Balak’s men for the nation is blessed.
The first attempt to get Balaam to come with Balak’s men was not successful.
The second attempt was made with promises of great honor. Balaam asked G-d if he should go on this second attempt.
What did G-d reply to Balaam?
G-d said set out and go with them but only do what I instruct you to say.Balaam got very excited. G-d was upset and sent an angel.
Why did Balaam’s donkey talk to him?
The angel planted himself in the road to oppose Balaam. The donkey saw the angel with its drawn sword and didn’t want to move. Balaam kept hitting the donkey with his stick. The donkey received the power to talk from G-d and said: “what have I done to you that you beat me these three times?” It was then that Balaam also now noticed the angel. He begged for forgiveness from G-d and continued on the journey.
What did Balak want Balaam to do?
He wanted him to curse the Jewish people.
Was he successful?
Balaam was brought to different places to curse the Jewish people. He only said positive remarks about them and was unable to say any curses. He turned to all the kings surrounding him and explained to them the order of destruction that would take place after this meeting. Balaam returned home after the meeting.
Did Balak plan any other catastrophes?
Yes, he asked of his people to give their daughters to intice the Jewish men to sin. The woman invited the men to partake in idol worship and immorality. This would incite anger from G-d and would in Balak’s eyes allow the Jewish people to be cursed. Idol worship and immorality are forbidden in the Jewish religion.
24,000 people were killed in this plague. Moses told the Judges of these neighbors that they must kill those that involved themselves in this matter. In front of Moses a Jewish man took a Midianite woman. The neighbors wept and Pinchas, son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest, rose and took a spear and drove it through both a male sinner with his Midianite woman.
Who was this man and woman… find out next week.