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Oblivious

Friday, 19 July, 2019 - 6:42 am

If someone gifts you a billion dollars but you never know it, are you rich?

If you stumble upon the cure for cancer, but nobody finds out, have you made a medical contribution?

If someone tries to harm you, but never meets you, have you suffered?

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Imagine reading your own story, but not recognizing important parts of your life.

This is what the Jews must have felt like after reading Parashat Balak. In contrast to other parts of the Torah, this week’s parsha tells a story that transpires to the Jewish people, without them even knowing it. Unbeknownst to them, Balak hired Bilaam to curse the Jews. He winds up offering some of the most potent blessings.

It’s certainly a victory for the Jewish people – but they didn’t even know it.

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What lesson is the Torah telling us by sharing part of our history that we were oblivious to in real-time?

The obvious lessons are gratitude to Almighty G-d, faith in His dominion and trust in His protection.

But, there is something even more powerful.

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One of Bilaam’s most famous statements is recited in the daily prayers, “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”

Bilaam stood atop a mountain and viewed the Jewish encampment. He was awed at their way of life; their piety, modesty and camaraderie.

Imagine if we would have known about Bilaam’s sinister plans? Would we have been as calm and faithful? I don’t know. But, perhaps the Torah is telegraphing an important message.

As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss. Being unaware of the dangers lurking around them, the Jews were focused on their true, spiritual mission.

When life is in turmoil around us, we should remember the lesson from this week’s parsha. No matter what and no matter when, Hashem is always protecting us.

If we are ware, we certainly need to take action. But, as a matter of faith, G-d is with us just as much as always.

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As we enter the Three Weeks, a period of national mourning, let us take solace and bolster our faith by realizing that Almighty G-d is always with us, even during our long exile. It is only another reminder that the long-overdue prophecy of Bilaam will soon come to pass, with the coming of Moshiach immediately!

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