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Shabbat Parashat Balak 5773

Ein Ayah: Honor to Improve Humanity

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:291)

Gemara: Rabbi Yochanan said: One should always try to go out toward the kings of Israel, and not just toward the kings of Israel but even toward the kings of other nations, for he will merit it, he will be able to distinguish between the kings of Israel and the kings of idol worshippers.


Ein Ayah: A human being is communal and is connected to the greater community of human beings. Whatever has a positive effect on the broad community has a positive impact on the individual as well. This is true even if he does not feel any impact or even any connection with others and that in fact he is well above the level of the general community. The following is the result.

Since honor given to kings is important to mankind, as it causes society to straighten its path and causes ethics and justice to be on firmer ground, everyone should take part in providing this honor to the extent possible. One should take part with others in placing the kingdom in its proper place at the head of the pyramid of human honor.

A member of the Israelite nation, whose entire goal should be for the highest level of truth and peace for the entire universe, should realize that the ideal state of mankind cannot be achieved without there being distinctions between one nation and another. Clearly, every family must have its own possessions and areas of activity and distinction. Only when the family is successful in reaching the attainments of which it is capable will it be able to contribute optimally to the welfare of the community. The same thing is true on a national and worldwide level. Each nation must be successful in its own realms. When this happens for enough nations, all of humanity will be blessed as a result.

A king of a nation represents the potential of the nation and is responsible to see it through fruition. His success can translate into an improved state for the world as a whole and, therefore, this should be important to all Jews, as we have interests in the world’s welfare. For a Jew to realize the value of the Israelite Kingdom at the time of Mashiach, when there will be cooperation between all of humanity, he will have to appreciate first the contribution that each nation will be able to provide toward that world success. Nations can provide great wisdom and interest, great justice and culture, and ethics and intellectuality within their realm of activity. When each unit in the whole will have elements that are very worthy, imagine how the whole will be! If though, one is not willing to expand his horizons and view the positive in other nations, he will not be able to conceive the full greatness of the world that the Israelite nation is capable of.

Therefore, one should run to see the kings of the nations and be wise enough to sense their honor. This recognition will enable the observer and his offspring to develop a foundation of pure desire of the heart and the mind for an ideal world, led by the Israelite people and dedicated to the glorification of the Name of Hashem.

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