We once discussed different answers to the question of why G-d thwarted Bilam's attempt to curse Klal Yisrael and changed his words to bracha. Why not just let him say whatever he wants and ignore him?
Chasam Sofer in our parsha offers another answer. "V'lo avah Hashem Elokecha lishmoa el Bilam...ki a'heivcha Hashem Elokecha." (23:6) When you love someone, you don't want to listen to bad things being said about them, even if the words are meaningless. Hashem loves Klal Yisrael; therefore, He did not want to even give Bilam the chance to speak.
The Ohr haChaim has an interesting comment on the language used in this pasuk. The word "AVAH," writes the Ohr haChaim, means having a desire for no reason. Earlier in sefer Devarim (2:26-30) Moshe relates how he sent messengers to Sichon asking permission for Klal Yisrael to pass through his territory, and even offering to buy food and drink from the Emori despite the fact that Klal Yisrael had mon and the be'er and didn't really need anything. "V'lo AVAH Sichon.. ha'avireinu bo..." -- Sichon did not **want** to let Klal Yisrael pass through. This was was a want that made no sense -- hence the use of "lo AVAH." Sichon could have avoided war, he could have made money for his people, but he still did not give in. Here too, Bilam pointed to the misdeeds of Klal Yisrael, to their rebellions, to the cheit ha'eigel, and still, Hashem did not want to allow him to harm Klal Yisrael. Why? How do you justify that? "V'lo AVAH" -- we can't explain it. Can you explain love?
Now that we know this Ohr haChaim, we have a deeper insight into the parsha of yibum at the end of our sidra (25:7-8). The Torah tells us, "V'im lo yachpotz ha'ish lakachas es yivimto," if the man does not want to do yibum, "V'also yivimto ha'sha'ara," the woman comes to beis din and declares, "... lo AVAH yabmi." Beis din then responds: "V'kar'u lo ziknei iro v'dibru eilav," they give the guy a talking to. If he responds and says, "Lo chafatzti likachta," I don't want to marry her, then they perform chalitza. We have a whole shakla v'terya here -- he says, she says, beis din says, and then he responds again. What's going on?
The key to the parsha is the one word AVAH. Malbim explains: the man whose brother died says, "Lo **chafatzti** likachta" -- I have nothing to gain from marrying this woman -- chafeitz = desire for something that is beneficial in some way -- and don't want to be involved. But what the woman hears and what she presents to beis din is "lo AVAH yabmi" -- he has no good reason for his refusal. It's just a whim. So beis din comes to investigate. The man then reiterates to them "lo chafatzti..." -- it's not just some nonsensical behavior, but rather it's that I dont see this match as being beneficial to either of us. It's "lo chafatzti" -- not "lo AVAH" like she said. That's a different story, and beis din now gets involved in arranging a chalitza.
Back in sefer Braishis, when Avaraham sends Eliezer to find a wife for Yitzchak, Eliezer ask Avraham what to do if, "Lo tOVEH ha'isha laleches..." Eliezer was a good negotiator and whatever reason the girl might give for not wanting to go -- money, questions of yichus, kavod, etc. -- he had an answer for. But what if "lo toveh" -- what if she refuses on a whim and has no good reason? You can't argue with a whim, so what am I to do?
So we have a few good examples of this Ohr haChaim in action where it gives us new, deeper insight into pesukim. Now for an example that has me baffled. In parshas Nitzavim the Torah speaks about the evil person who rejects the bris of Hashem and says "bi'shrirus libi eilech," I'll go my own way and be fine. The Torah tells us, "Lo YOVEH Hashem sloch lo," Hashem will not let him off the hook (29:18-19) "Lo YOVEH?" Hashem on a whim, for no reason, turns away a person??? Surely Hashem never turns someone away for no reason, and here, the reason this person is punished is clear from the pesukim. I'm stuck -- how do you explain this pasuk?