Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Balak

The Blessing of Connection    

June 30, 2018 – 17 Tammuz 5778


Dear Friends,


Are we, Jews, destined to be an isolated people?

Balaam, the non-Jewish Prophet, set out to curse our people but ended up blessing us with the famous words “Mah Tovu…” [How goodly are your tents, Jacob].  As Balaam looked over the Israelite camp, he also said: Am l’vadad yishkon, I see before me [A nation that will dwell in isolation].  Are these also words of blessing?

It is important for us to remember that God’s message to us was quite different from what Balaam imagined as he looked at our people and described us as an isolated people.

God’s message is that it is not desirable for any person to live in isolation from others.  And, it is also not desirable for our people to live in isolation from other people.  Conveying God’s message, our prophets spoke of the day in which many nations will walk along with us to worship God in God’s Temple in Jerusalem.

While living in isolation may, from time to time, be a reality for any of us as individuals or for our people as a whole, the ideal envisioned by our prophets was one of interaction and of cooperation between ourselves and others, both as individuals and as a nation.

May the vision and the blessings of connection sustain us all, giving us courage and hope at all times.

Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Gilah Dror