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Dvar Torah: Balak

Many things happen in the background of our lives. So many people are involved in helping us that we don't know about, and who we will never know about. Our society is built around a tight interdependence which means that we are all able to live in comfort and happiness every day because of a thousand actions of others, whose existence we might not even be aware of.


This week the Jews receive just such a lesson in gratitude. Balak, the kind of Moav, hires Bil'am to curse the Jews. Though they both try as hard as they can, in the end, they are thwarted by Hashem in a bizarre psychodrama which the Torah portrays in detail, but which the Jews at the time were blissfully ignorant of. The Torah even highlights the fact that while this was all going on not far from the camp, the Jews were resting, not in any sense ready to act against the threat overlooking them. Of course, in the case of Bil'am, we learned of the threat after it was gone.  Instead of curses, we received blessings, which have accompanied us throughout our history. However, this incident provides a valuable lesson about not taking life for granted, and about always appreciating the hidden actors in our lives.

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