The first time that Bilam attempts to curse Bnei Yisrael and instead blesses them, he asks ‘may my soul die the death of righteous (yesharim) people’ (23:10). As the Sforno explains, Bilam was asking to die a death which would allow him to receive reward in the Next World. It seems that Bilam was asking to die making a Kiddush HaShem (sanctification of God’s Name), which carries with it much reward. As the mashgichim point out, Bilam was asking that he should die a Kiddush HaShem, but he was picking the easy way out. For it is much harder to live a life of Kiddush HaShem than to die a death of Kiddush HaShem. To make sure that one’s goals and actions in the world are constantly in keeping with sanctifying HaShem’s Name is really something to aim for.

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