Sign In Forgot Password

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

21/06/13 11:45:23


R Pesach Siegel

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Parshas Balak 5773

The Bnei Yisroel were fast approaching the Land of Canaan. The vanguards of Eretz Canaan, Sichon the king of the Emori and Og the King of Bashan were roundly defeated.

Mo’av was afraid.

Balak, the king of Mo’av sent messengers to Bil’am, the prophet designate of the gentile world.

He summoned him and said, “And now, go forth and curse this nation.”

Bil’am bade the messengers to wait and stay the night. He would respond to their entreaty once the word of G-d was revealed to him.

G-d said to Bil’am, “Do not go with these men. Do not curse the nation. They are blessed.”

Balak sent even greater dignitaries to Bil’am.

That night, Elokim appeared to Bil’am, and He said, “If you stand to be rewarded by accompanying these men, you may go with them. But only the words that I communicate to you will you act upon.”

Bil’am awoke early in the morning. He saddled his donkey, and went with the officers of Mo’av.

The Torah says, “VaYichar af Elokim ki holaych hu” – Elokim displayed anger, for Bil’am was going.

The Torah does not say that Hashem was angry because Bil’am was going with the intent to curse the Ben Yisroel. It was the actual going that brought Hashem to anger.


This is puzzling.

The actual “going” was the one thing that Hashem had permitted Bil’am to do.

Why would Hashem be angry at Bil’am doing what he had allowed him to do?

In the entire parshah, Bil’am refers to Hashem with the Shem Havaya. Why is it when Hashem communicates with Bil’am, the name Elokim is used?


Rav Huna says, “Biderech she’adam rotzeh laylaych bah molichin oso” – In the path that a person wishes to follow, “they” lead him along that path. (Meseches Makos, daf 10b)

The MaHarsha asks, “Who is meant by the word “they”? It certainly doesn’t refer to Hashem. Had it meant Hashem it would have said “He”.

The Maharsha explains, Hashem created man in His image. Hashem is the Creator. Hashem invested man with the ability to create. Man creates with his thoughts, his words, and his actions.

Every thought creates a spiritual force. If it is a positive thought, the thought creates a positive spiritual force. The same is true for the words and actions of man.

These spiritual forces are mal’achim.

When a person forms the thought of performing a meritorious act, the very thought creates a mal’ach. The mal’ach then assists the person in actualizing his thought. The same holds true for the words and actions of man.

This is the meaning of the words of Rav Huna, When a person expresses his ratzon (will), he creates spiritual beings. It is they that are molich (lead) the person towards the attainment of his goal.


The Maharsha explains that Hashem did not communicate with Bil’am directly. That privilege is reserved for Neviyei Yisroel. Hashem sent a mal’ach to convey his message to Bil’am. The name Elokim is the one name of Hashem that is shared with others. Judges are called Elohim and so are idols. Mal’achim are also referred to by that name.

That is why the name Elokim is used when Hashem is communicating with Bil’am.

Bil’am asked of G-d to allow him to accompany the men of Balak. G-d responded in the negative. When Balak sent additional messengers, Bil’am asked a second time.

He was aware that the path he wished to embark upon was not the will of G-d, and yet he asked again. His improper request created a spiritual being, a mal’ach, that was created to assist him in attaining his unworthy goal.

It was the voice of this mal’ach that he heard when he asked if he could go with Balak’s men. The mal’ach answered him, “Kum laych itam” – Arise, go with them.

Bil’am mistakenly thought that he was granted approval from G-d for the path he was set upon, and he went with them.

Thus, he  brought upon himself the wrath of G-d.


Mon, September 21 2020 3 Tishrei 5781