Questions and Concepts for Parsha Balak
(Numbers 22:2 - 25:9)
  1. Abraham is said to have had a good eye, humility and contentedness. Bilaam is said to have had an evil eye, arrogance and greed. Compare the characteristics and behaviors of Moses and Bilaam.
  2. Bilaam thought he had superior spiritual insight. How did God’s use of the talking donkey show him otherwise?
  3. Bilaam was considered God’s prophet to the gentile world – their "counterpart" to Moses. Bilaam's final prophecy has become an important principle of Jewish faith, concerning the coming of the Messiah: "I shall see him, but not now, I shall look at him but it is not near. A star has issued from Jacob and a scepter-bearer has risen from Israel, and he shall pierce the nobles of Moab and undermine the children of Seth...." (24:17-24) Why did God have this non-Jewish prophet give such an important prophecy? What would this tell the world about the Jewish people, throughout the generations to come?
  4. Balak, the King of Moab, wanted to wage war against the Jews, but realized that attacking them physically would not work. Balak understood that the only way to defeat the Jews physically, was to first defeat them in the spiritual realm, thus he hired Bilaam, who had great spiritual powers. In the book of Genesis, we see Jacob wrestling with an angel and prevailing. The sages teach that this was the guardian angel of Esau – no less than Samael (haSatan) himself. Compare Jacob’s victory in the spiritual realm and subsequent "taming" of Esau in the physical world (and then being called "Israel"), to Balak and Balaam’s failure.
  5. Consider this concept:
    In the deeper level of Jewish Torah study, certain numbers represent hidden concepts. The number 42 is associated with a particular name of God and also the idea of "arrival." For instance, the Israelites encamped a total of 42 times in the wilderness before arriving in the Promised Land. Matthew lists 42 generations leading up to the birth of Yeshua. At an even deeper level, the door to the Holy of Holies in the coming Third Temple has the dimensions of 6x7 (equaling 42 when multiplied) symbolizing the "arrival" of the unification of the Name of God (Zechariah 14:9). In this Parsha, Bilaam ascends mountains and offers a total of 42 sacrifices to oppose the Jews who are approaching.