BALAK

"He (Balak) sent messengers to Balaam.to summon him, saying, Behold, a people has come out of Egypt.............................................." (22:5)

Why did Balak have to preface his message to Balaam with "a people has come out of Egypt"? What message was he (Balak) conveying to Balaam about his concerns concerning the Nation of Israel? I would like to, Bezrat Hashem, answer as follows: When Balak observed the Israelites he was struck by a very curious observation. Although, the Israelites lived in Egypt they miraculously did not become integrated and absorbed into Egptian society. The Israelites essentially remained distinc and separate.It is well known that Egptian society was lewd and perverse, yet the Israelites retained their morality in spite of their (Israelites) close proximity to the Egyptians.This was surely miraculous.

It is well known that when 2 people are in close proximity to one another, one ultimately becomes influenced and dominated by the other. This is what Balak and the Moabites feared the most about the Israelites

.Yet the Moabites missed a tremendous opportunity to perhapes learn from the Israelites how to live a more moral and ethical lifestyle. The Moabites feared the Torah the most ,and did not want to be influenced by the Torah and its doctrines in any possible manner. In Pirchei Avos 5:19, it states the following:"Whoever possesses these qualities are among the students of Abraham; and three other qualities are the students of Bilaam. A good eye, a humble spirit,and and a generous nature----------are the characteristics of .............Abraham. An evil eye, a haughty spirit and excessive desire are the characteristics of................Bilaam.....................(please refer to the Mishnah in Pirchai Avos)

The Moabites choose to follow the path of Bilaam, and forsook the path of rightousness. They missed a tremendous opportunity to connect themselves to the religious teachings of Abraham. If they would have have only choosen properly, who can say how great they would have become? Yet they choose to travel far in order to attach themselves to the doctrines of Bilaam.

From Balak and the Moabites we can learn 2 essential lessons in the choices we make in our lives as follows: (1) always attach yourselves to rightousnes, and(2) choose your neighbors wisely for they will surely have an influence on you .

Have a good Shabbos .

THIS TORAH THOUGHT IS BEING DEDICATED TO MY BELOVED FATHER NACHMAN SHIMON ben YEHUDA MEIR HAKOHAN, Z'L.

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