Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bilam's nevuah-- solution to unfairness?

Rashi writes that Hashem granted nevuah to Bilam to prevent the nations of the world from complaining of unfairness because we have nevi’im and they don’t. Rav Shteinman in his Ayeles HaShachar asks an interesting question. Has the complaint of unfairness really been resolved? The nations still will complain. True, they got a navi, but look at who they got! Bilam was a good for nothing rasha. They will say, "Had we only gotten someone like Moshe Rabeinu...."

Rav Shteinman offers one approach, but I don't think there is one answer alone to this question. What do you think?

If you have no sense of humor please stop reading now.

If your workplace has a TV around (as the financial institution that employs me, and most other financial institutions, do) it is probably usually tuned to CNBC or some other boring business news station. Yet, Wednesday morning was different. I think no work at all was done for most of the latter half of the morning, as instead people were fixated on this:

Now, there have been accusations of bias against the US because of disqualified goals, but what I think clinches the argument of bias is scheduling the game on Shabbos where bakasha is prohibited in tefilah. But no matter. All we need to do is have kavanah in the beginning of our amidah

-- v'Zocher chasdei Avos u'mavi


l'vnei b'neihen.

I'm glad I got that out of my system.


  1. Anonymous9:09 PM

    I am laughing hysterically at your sophomoric Yeshvish humor. THANKS

  2. R'Shimshon Pincus explains that it stems from the fact the nations rejected the Torah. Initially, Bilam was a good, respected member of society, and his first ability was to interpret dreams, followed by sorcery, and subsequently prophecy. His goodness was why he was deemed worthy of prophecy.

    Once he achieved prophecy, his fame and renown spread, and it got to his head, and he became the corrupt Bilam HaRasha we know him as, contrasted to Moshe Rabbeinu who was humility personified. R'Pincus says that without the Torah assigning certain conduits for behavior and ability, the abilities will inevitably become corrupted in the long-run, hence we got Moshe, and they got a menuval.

  3. R' Shteinman says basically the same thing. But I think the answer is simpler. Hashem did give the umos the equivalent of Moshe Rabeinu -- but even a Moshe Rabeinu type personality forced to live in the tumah of Moav, Midyan, and the other umos will become a Bilam.

    I am putting the stress on environment as a corrupting influence; R' Pincus and R' Shteinman put the stress on the individual's inability to overcome personal flaws.

  4. You're right, it's more or less the same. Powerful mussar though!

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