Home : Torah Online : Parsha : Chukat-Balak : 5762

This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.

The latest article is posted here once a week. You can search the archive for past articles.

Parshat Chukat-Balak (5762)

In the second of this week's double portion, Balak. the wicked anti-Semite, Bilaam, the arch-master of destruction is hired to eradicate the Jews by cursing them, but all he can manifest is blessings. In fact the clearest prophecies regarding the greatest blessing of all; Moshiach are found here.

Why couldn't all this good come through Moses? Why did G-d send it through an arch-evil sorcerer?

Here is a story that will help explain.

One of the greatest Tzadikim of all time was Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzera who was born inMoroccoand passed away less than one hundred years ago.

Among the hundreds of miracles attributed to him is the following.

One day a wealthy woman, well know throughout the town (I think it was the town ofFez) came to Rabbi Yaakov with a desperate request.

"I want a blessing that my son should die."

Her only son had been born paralyzed and now she was getting too old to care for him. At first she managed with helpers but now she was approaching the age of sixty, her son was almost forty and it was simply impossible to deal with. The woman was not particularly religious and now she had come to the Tzadik at her wit's end.

"What? Said the Tzaddik, "That is no blessing! Why don't you ask that your son gets healed? That is a blessing. I only give blessings."

"Rabbi", she replied "I'm not fooling myself. I've dragged him to the best doctors in the world, the very best, for almost forty years. And they all say the same thing; there is no hope he'll never move, he can't even talk. I can't stand to see him suffer this way.

"I've been hoping against all odds for a cure, but there is no cure Rabbi… no cure in the world. Why should he suffer? Why should we all suffer? I simply can't bear it any longer." And saying this she burst out in bitter tears.

The Rabbi replied, "Bring him here."

An hour later her son was brought in a wheelchair to the Rabbi's home. It was really a pitiful sight to see. He was obviously incapable of moving a muscle, his head was held up by a brace and spit was drooling from his open mouth.

"Bring him to the back yard and lay him on the ground."

It was a warm day outside. The porters wheeled her son through the house out the door to the yard and laid him in the sun on the ground in the spot that the Tzadik pointed out. Rav Abuchatzera then told everyone to leave the yard and close the door behind them, leaving him alone with the young man.

He sat down on a chair in the shade, took out a copy of the Zohar (a mystical explanation of the Torah) and began reading while the sun beat down on the ladies poor paralyzed son.

After a half hour the young man began moving around and yelled, "It's hot here! It's hot!"

"Don't tell me," replied the Rabbi "If you're hot go tell your mother, she's sitting in the house."

The young man stood, looked angrily at Rav Abuchatzera and said "That is exactly what I'm going to do!"

He walked to the door, opened it and cried out "Mommy, that Rabbi put me in the hot sun!!"

His mother began screaming from joy, the news spread like wildfire, and in no time everyone, Jews and Arabs alike, were lined up before the Tzadik's home laden with presents; eggs, chickens and the like, singing songs of praise for the holy Tzaddik.

But all this didn't affect Rabbi Yaakov at all. He just sat in the backyard reading his Zohar as though nothing happened.

"I don’t see what is so amazing." He later explained to one of his pupils, "If I do what G-d wants all the time, then why shouldn't He do what I want once in a while?"

This is the reason that G-d revealed such high things through such a low person as Bilaam.

The job of the Jews is to transform the entire world into even higher than it was when it was created. In other words, that not only the Jews but also all the gentiles, all people, should serve ONLY the Creator.

As we say in the Alenu prayer thrice daily regarding Moshiach "All humanity will turn to You, Every knee will bend, every tongue will declare. etc." and as the Rambam explains in the end of his work Yad HaChazaka. "The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d."

Just as the paralyzed son aroused even the non-Jews to respect the greatness of the Creator, so Bilaam brought the entire world (at least potentially) to see the greatness of the G-d ofIsrael; when sickness becomes health and evil advertises good, then everyone listens.

Therefore it was the cursed Bilaam that brought us the clearest prophesies regarding the ultimate good; Moshiach who will finally reveal the goodness of the Creator in the entire world.

May we all utilize all this potential, attach ourselves to the true Tzadikim like the Lubavitcher Rebbe and follow his plan to bring...

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2018 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

(5760- )



   Other Essays

 send us feedback