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Shabbat Parashat Balak| 5765
Balak | | 02/01/2004
Bilam- Prophet, Sorcerer, or Social Commentator?One of the most basic questions on Chumash is: how did Bilam think he could bring bad onto a nation that Hashem had destined for success? There are different approaches on the efficacy of curses. Rather than delve into them, let us focus on Bilam’s words and tactics to see how he intended to succeed. The Torah says that Hashem switched Bilam’s kelala (curse) to a beracha (blessing) (Devarim 23:6). Thus, by understanding the nature of the beracha, we can extrapolate as to the nature of the intended kelala.
P’ninat MishpatCase: A woman (pl)sued a man (def) for support for herself and her son, claiming that he is her husband and the father of their child. Def responded that although they live in the same house, they were never married and did not live as husband and wife (and the child is not his). (Def and pl came as adults from chutz la’aretz). Pl brought proof that def had asserted before a government agency that the family was his, but he explains that he did so to get governmental support, despite the fact that the assertion was false. The public knows the “family” as a family, but def claims that pl entered his home just as a housekeeper.
Moreshet ShaulThe gemara (Yoma 9b) tells a story. Reish Lakish was swimming in the Jordan when one of the Amoraim of Bavel approached. Reish Lakish said: “I hate you people of Bavel.” He continued to explain that because the Babylonian Jewish community did not come back to Eretz Yisrael in sufficient numbers in Ezra’s time, the settlement in Eretz Yisrael succumbed to deterioration and destruction. He used Shir Hashirim’s metaphor of “a door of cedar wood” to describe the insufficient aliyah that came with Ezra and, like wood, was susceptible to rotting.
Ask the RabbiQuestion: On Motzaei Shabbat, I have a lot of laundry to do so I can send my kids off to school for the week. It would be helpful to start the first load while my husband is at shul. However, I heard that it is a problem to do serious work before Havdala, even after saying Hamavdil (a shortened Havdala). Is that true and does it apply in this case?
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).