In this week’s Torah portion, we have a look at the pagan gentile mind-set, entering the realms of ancient magicians, sorceress and spiritual warfare. This portion asks us to make a Psycho-literary analysis. In this portion we receive a look or a peak through the veils to what goes behind the scene while Israel is sitting without hindrance.
We read of how Balak King of Moab is dreading the Israeli nation after he hears and see they winning battles against extremely powerful kings of the region. Scared that they would come and attack his nation and his people, taking his crown, he sends people messengers Midyan asking them to go with him to speak to the only man that is powerful enough (maybe) to help them - Bilaam.
Bilaam was an expert sorcerer, the best there was back in the days and Balak considered him as their best solution to win any kind of war against the powerful Israeli nation. Sages explain that "there never did arise in Israel a prophet like Moses” they said that among the other nations there did – Bilaam. ‘So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian went, with magic charms in their hands, and they came to Balaam and conveyed Balak's message to him.’
saying, "A people has come out of Egypt, and behold, they have covered the "eye" of the land, and they are stationed in front of me.
Balak was dreading the Israeli nation, and he had a good reason to. The Zohar teaches us a bit about Balak character. Balak is referred in the scriptures as the son of Zipor, according to the Zohar, Balak had in his possession a majestic bird. He took the bird, than shake the grass, blew the air. he worked his magic, whispered spells, and the bird came with the grass in his mouth, and whispered to him what is about to become. He then put the bird in a cage, and burn incense to it, and the bird informed him more things. He would send the bird that wandered around and then returns to him with information. One day he was during his magic as usual, he took the bird and sent her away to see for him what he needs to see. He waited for her to return but she was delayed and did not come, he than felt sorrow in his soul for loosing her. Before she came back, he saw a flame of fire going after the bird and burn its wings. And then he saw what he saw and feared the people of Israel even more.
The name of the bird was YADUA.
All the people who would use this magic of the bird wasn’t doing it as good as Balak. He was the world’s expert when it comes to magic. And all the wisdom he had, was thanks to this bird. With this bird he would know everything there is to know and work his magic.
Balak is the descendant of Lot, which Abraham saved from Sedom and Amora. as it sais in the scriptures "God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt." Genesis 19.
Bilaam was the descendant of the wicked Lavan so that he had unfinished business with Israel. When Jacob, his wives and the children flee from Lavan’s house, Rachel took the Terafim - Idols with either magical powers or sacred status which Lavan used for magic and divination.
Bilaam was living on the river in Aram Naharaaim - the birth place of Abraham. So both Balak and Bilaam have had a history with the Jewish nation – both were relatives and one even owed his life to it - still they feared them to the point they asked to cures them.
Balak held the power of magic while Bilaam held the power of sorcery. The difference between them is that magic is something done with the hands, as opposed to sorcery, which is more a matter of charms, spells and power of the mouth. Balak and his collaborator Billam would go then together to three mountains – high vantage points from where they could see Israel and course them, collaborating their powers and evil intentions.
On three attempts Balaam had Balak sacrifice seven oxen and seven rams, a total of 42 sacrifices (the number 42 is known in Kabbalah as the number of judgment of law). Still every time, instead of Balaam receiving a prophecy that would curse the children of Israel, the prophecy was one of blessing. God had turned Balaam into an instrument to bless His people. infect, so powerful were his blessings that they are recorded in the Torah for eternity and are even the strongest most cryptic prophesies we have about the redemption of Israel and the Masiiach to come. Those blessings of Billam even taken their place in our prayers.
This portion teaches us that all men, including magicians and sorcerers, are subject to the will of God, and once they use the sorcery given to them, doing wrong their powers will work against them.
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