Storm On The Horizon
By Rabbi Pinchas Winston
And he sent messengers to Bilaam son of Beor ... (Bamidbar 22:5)
In the world of weather, they call it the 'Perfect Storm.' It is when
weather conditions that normally do not co-occur do co-occur,
resulting in dramatically destructive storms. According to
meteorologists, such 'perfect storms' occur only once in one hundred
years, though, three have actually occurred in the last sixteen years
In this week's parshah, a perfect storm of a different nature is also
brewing. At the start of the parshah, we don't learn of any inherent
relationship between Balak and Bilaam, other than the fact that Balak
is a king with a problem and Bilaam is the man with his solution.
In fact, as Rashi points out, Moav over whom Balak was king and
Midian, the nation of Bilaam, previously had fought like cats and
dogs. It was only their common hatred of the Jewish people that
allowed them to suppress their hatred for each other and instead
focus that hatred on their common enemy. As the song goes, "This one
hates that one, and that one hates this one, but, everyone hates the
However, the Holy Zohar, which looks at reality on a far more
esoteric level, on this week's parshah points out a connection
between Balak and Bilaam of which even they may not have been aware.
A connection that may have been left only theoretical had the Jewish
people not approached the border of Canaan at just that precise
moment in history, while Balak was king and Bilaam was still alive.
And, according to the Zohar, it is a connection so fundamental that
it is even revealed through their names, which are spelled:
bais-lamed-kuf (Balak), and, bais-lamed-ayin-mem (Bilaam). Combined,
they can spell two words, which should be instantly recognizable by
every Jew, and send chills up and down our collective spine: 'Bavel'
Bavel, of course, is Babylonia, the place to which the Jewish people
were first exiled after the terrible destruction of the Jewish people
and the First Temple. Amalek is THE people that stand at the extreme
other end of the spiritual spectrum from the Jewish people, first
mentioned in the Torah at the end of Parashas Beshallach, and,
against whom G-d is forever at war until the end of history.
What the Zohar Hakadosh is indicating is that both Balak and Bilaam
contribute something that, when brought together, result in the type
of evil associated with Bavel, and, even worse, Amalek. And, if they
happen to be traits that can exist even outside of Balak and Bilaam
themselves, then, it is 'storm' that can occur and keep occurring
even after Balak and Bilaam themselves are long gone.
Again, the clue to understanding the answer is in the names, and, in
the Zohar. The Zohar begins by asking: Why is the name of Balak's
father mentioned, when usually, with respect to the rest of the kings
around him, it does not mention their father's name? The Zohar
answers: To inform us that, even though Balak had descended from the
family of Yisro, he was the only one NOT to convert after Yisro
returned to Midian, and, as a result, was appointed king by Moav and
Midian even though his own father, 'Tzippor,' had not been a king.
Thus, Balak's main trait was to be able to look truth in the face and
deny it without any sense of remorse or fear of doing so. Just the
opposite! He was emboldened by his own obstinacy, and prepared to act
viciously against what he perceived to be his OWN enemy.
It is a phenomenally wicked trait, as we can well understand, and as
we have seen on many occasions. However, its effect may still be
limited and its damage might still be containable without a second
trait to project that evil onto the world and greatly magnify its
intensity. That is where 'storm condition' #2 comes in, and did ...
... For I know that all whom you bless are blessed, and those whom
you curse are cursed. (Bamidbar 22:6)
This was Balak's message to Bilaam, whom he was trying to hire as a
contract-curser. However, as the Arizal explains, Balak was offering
more than just an evil compliment to allure him into joining forces
with him against the fast-approaching Jewish nation. He was
indicating to Bilaam that the true power of his ability could finally
be realized if he did indeed form a partnership between his trait and
Regarding one who reincarnates into something inanimate, we find with
respect to Naval HaCarmelli, of whom it says, "His heart died within
him, and he was like a rock" (I Shmuel 25:37). The sod of this is
understood from knowing that Lavan reincarnated into Bilaam, and
later, into Naval HaCarmelli. Bilaam, who was a snake-charmer, had
power only in his mouth to curse people, and when Bilaam was killed,
it was with a single rock -- something domem (silent) -- to atone
for the charming he did with his mouth. (Sha'ar HaGilgulim, p. 62)
The demagogue. A person who is tries to stir up the people by appeals
to the emotion, prejudice, etc., in order to win them over quickly
and so gain power (Webster's New World Dictionary). Today, one
envisions those highly-emotional electrifying speeches made my none
other than one Adolph Hitler, may his memory be erased, to millions
of Germans as he tried to transform them into Nazis.
And, to the wonder of historians to this very day, he had been highly
successful. Just his mouth alone and what came out of it, either
directly or through his propaganda machine, had the unfortold power
to transform him and his band of occult-practicing (among other
immoral activities they indulged in; Bilaam had also been intimate
with his donkey) thugs into the leading parliamentary power of post
World War I Germany within five short years.
He had been the ultimate 'snake' charmer. (Arafat isn't so bad
himself, it seems.)
Part of the wonderment of Hitler's rise to and (fall from) power was
how many conditions had to pre-exist to make it happen. First of all,
Germany had to have been broken from inflation after their
humiliating defeat in World War I, and Hitler had to live through and
experience that humiliation. The Allies, new to the situation, had to
make a mistake (easily seen in hindsight) about how to treat post
World War Germany, to aggravate the situation.
Then, Hitler had to surround himself with the 'right' evil people,
who were also talented, people like Julius Streicher, and Heinrich
Himmler and crew (yemach shemum), who could transform his message
into one the masses could slowly accept, and, as necessary, create
enough intimidation to crush the opposition.
Then, of course, the Allies had to be intimidated enough and war-wary
to be willing to the look the other way (specifically British Prime
Minister Chamberlain in 1938), while Hitler took control of Germany
first, and then Europe. And, had the technology not been available at
precisely that time, the Nazi party would have fallen far short of
their objectives from the outset.
There were many more such 'weather' conditions that had to co-occur,
and, though the Western world bet against it, in the end, they DID
occur, and the 'perfect storm' called the 'Holocaust and World War II
happened in the worst way. History provided the 'weather conditions,'
and Germany provided the Balaks and Bilaams.
It was no different with respect to World War I, and, it will be no
different with respect World War III -- the FINAL war of Gog and
Magog -- if, G-d forbid, the world bets against it again and ignores
the warning signs brewing on the spiritual and political horizon.
Make no mistake about it. As you read this d'var Torah now, there are
Balaks and Bilaams floating around all over the place, like scraps of
paper caught up in the path of winds, each one having their own
limited effect in their own limited sphere of influence --
The Egyptian Government Paper Al-Akhbar Once Again Defends Hitler
Following criticism of President Husni Mubarak during his visit to
the US in early April 2001, the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar
temporarily ceased publishing articles defending Hitler. Recently
however, the paper again published an article by Mahmoud Muhammad
Khadhr, a cleric from Al-Azhar University, entitled In Defense of
Hitler. Following are experts of the article:
... But all of Hitlers crimes and infractions were forgotten by the
world, except for one crime that was exaggerated and blown completely
out of proportion, thanks to the insistence of world Zionism to
continue to stoke the fire. The reason for this was the emotional
need of the Sons of Jacob to extort Germany and to eat away at its
resources. It is hard to believe that the Europeans and Americans,
who are entitled to thinking, confirming or denying anything --
including the [existence of] the prophets and God himself -- cannot
address the Jewish Question, or more precisely, the false Holocaust,
whose numbers and scope they have exaggerated until it has reached
the level of the merciless destruction of six million Jews, only
because Hitler saw them as an inferior race unworthy of living next
to the Germanic race, which must rule the world.
Anyone who knocks on this door encounters the most horrible
accusations and is tried in all of the European countries and in the
US for anti-Semitism, for two reasons:
The first is Zionisms control over thinking in the West. This control
testifies to the degree of oppression of thought by the Zionist
propaganda apparatus in those nations. No one can oppose this
oppression, for fear of being tried and sent to prison, or having his
and his reputation threatened...
The second reason is, without a doubt, the great fear that the lies
of Zionism will be exposed if the subject [of the Holocaust] is
investigated by facts and if logical conclusions are made.
The first dubious fact is the number of six million Jews who were
burnt in the gas chambers. Did they have families, children, who
demanded compensation, or did Zionism see itself as their only heir?
If we assume that every person had an average of five family members,
this would bring the number of Jews affected to thirty million. It
is certain that many Jews escaped before the ship sunk, that many of
them therefore, survived, despite the so-called
extermination and burning [in the gas chambers]. This would mean
that the number of Jews in Germany was sixty million, although the
total number of Germans has never reached this number.
Even if we cross off one zero from the six million and are left with
a tenth of this number, it would still seem exaggerated and would
have to be investigated.
No one can ask why Hitler punished the Jews. The reason had nothing
to do with that broken record known as anti-Semitism. If Hitler was
an anti-Semite, why was this anti-Semitism mentioned only after the
World War was declared? Hitler could have expelled - in the period
in which he built Germany up and prepared it for the War in order to
recover what it lost in WWI - this undesirable [Jewish] race from
Germany and planted it in South Africa or anywhere else in the world.
Did Hitler attack the Jews or did their crime deserve even more?...
There is more to the article, but, I think the point is made. And,
all of the Balaks and Bilaams are just waiting for the right
political conditions to come around, to which they can attach
themselves and through which they can become unified and amplify
their evil intentions.
The only question is, what creates the proper and deadly 'weather
patterns' to make nightmare reality?
When Bilaam saw that G-d was intent on blessing Israel, he did not go
as at other times to perform enchantments ... (Bamidbar 24:1)
The Talmud teaches that, had G-d not interceded on behalf of the
Jewish people against Balak's and Bilaam's efforts to destroy them,
we wouldn't be here today to talk about it. For Bilaam, who was a
reincarnation of Lavan, Ya'akov Avinu's father-in-law, it had been
the second time. However, Chazal make it perfectly clear that, it was
G-d who transformed Bilaam's curses into blessings, not Bilaam's own
In other words, 'Hashgochah Pratis' -- direct 'Divine Providence'
makes the difference when it comes to the final condition, as the
following (e-mail forwarded to me last week) may illustrate. I cannot
verify all the details, but som I know are definitely true.
G-d's Perfect Storm Warning
By John McTernan, June 13, 2001
From June 8 to June 9, 2001, one of the greatest rainfalls in the
history of the United States happened in eastern Texas. In a 24-hour
period, over 28 inches of rain fell in the Houston area. In fact,
between June 5 and 11, three feet of rain fell on the area.
The rain was the product of Tropical Storm Allison, whose brief
history will go down in Weather Bureau records as "weird" -- to say
the least. Allison formed within one day in the Gulf of Mexico, which
is unusual. This storm then headed into Texas east of Houston and
broke up as a storm system. The remnants drifted to the north of
Houston and circled around the city before sliding back south to the
Gulf. The storm then re-formed into a tropical storm, which began to
unleash incredible torrents of rain starting Friday evening and into
The destruction in Houston was catastrophic. An estimated 20,000
homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged, along with possibly
50,000 automobiles and trucks. The city was closed for three days.
Twenty-eight counties in Texas were declared a disaster area along
with 14 parishes in Louisiana. The resulting damage will be close to
$2 billion. This was an incredible storm that did tremendous damage
to southeast Texas.
[At that time,] President George W. Bush sent CIA director George
Tenet to Israel to try and broker a cease-fire between the Israelis
and the Palestinians and to implement the Mitchell Report. This was
the Bush administration's first real involvement in the Middle East
crisis. Tenet wanted Israel to stop building in the settlement areas.
Tenet arrived in the Middle East on Wednesday. On Friday, June 8, the
Central Intelligence Agency director hosted talks between senior
Israeli and Palestinian security officials in Ramallah, while
Assistant Secretary of State William Burns met Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city. This was at the same time
Allison re-formed as a tropical storm and began dumping this
tremendous rain. The two events exactly coincided! On the nightly
news, the flooding and the meetings in Israel were reported together!
Texas is President Bush's home state. He was at his ranch in
Crawford, Texas at the time of the flooding. He declared the 28
counties in Texas a federal disaster area while he was in Texas.
This was the third time since the Madrid Peace Process began that a
sitting president's state has been the location of a powerful and
damaging storm, occurring at the exact time the president was
involved with Israel and the covenant land.
The first disaster literally destroyed President George H. Bush's
home in Maine. This storm, which came to be known as "The Perfect
Storm," happened while President Bush was initiating the Madrid Peace
process on October 31, 1991.
According to meteorologists, a "perfect storm" occurs once every 100
years. This storm formed in the North Atlantic and headed west for
1000 miles. The normal weather patterns in the United States are west
to east, not east to west.
This was one of the most powerful storms ever. It generated waves
over 100 feet high, the highest waves ever reported in the North
Atlantic Ocean. As the storm moved west, it sent 30-foot waves
smashing at President Bush's home in Maine. This storm actually
struck while the President was opening the Madrid Peace Process. When
the President returned home, he had to go to Maine to oversee the
repair of his home.
(My own note: Not only this, but, one year in advance of the next
U.S. Presidential Election in 1992, during which George Bush Sr.
would try to win a second term, he had an 80% popularity rating, the
highest ever for a post-war U.S. president. He had been riding on the
crest of the successful Persian Gulf War, and that kind of popularity
so close to an election always guarantees a win for the incumbent
However, at the same time, Bush was trying to force Shamir to cease
building settlements in the Yehudah and Shomron areas, and, even
threatened to block a proposed 10 billion dollar loan guarantee to
Israel. And thus, and in spite of all the controversy surrounding
'Slippery' Bill Clinton, one of the largest voter turn-outs ever in
American history occurred -- just to oust Bush and install Bill
Clinton in his place!)
In March of 1997, President Clinton invited Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat to the White House to discuss his "problems" with Jerusalem.
While Arafat was en route, a powerful tornado storm ripped through
seven states, with the worst damage in Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio.
Clinton's home state of Arkansas bore the brunt of the storm with 13
counties declared a disaster area. This storm brought record flooding
to the Ohio River. Clinton met with Arafat, and the headline of a New
York Times front-page article on March 4, 1997, read, "President
Clinton Rebukes Israel." The headline of the adjacent article read,
"In Storms' Wake: Grief And Shock." The report of Clinton's home
state being devastated by tornadoes was on the front page of the N.Y.
Times right next to the one of Clinton verbally attacking Israel.
The home states of all three of these presidents were affected by
severe weather patterns simultaneously to their diplomatic dealings,
which were putting pressure on the covenant land agreements for the
nation of Israel.
The enormous damage to President Bush's home in Maine by "The Perfect
Storm" was eerie, coming just as he was directly responsible for
initiating the Madrid Peace Process, which affected Israel's land.
All three of these storms were ferocious and record breaking. Both
George W. Bush and Clinton had to declare disaster areas in their own
states at the very time they were dealing with land giveaway in
A clear pattern has developed here. Are these presidents being warned
by G-d not to interfere with the covenant land of Israel? Can all of
this just be a coincidence? Or is the hand of G-d signaling a perfect
End of e-mailed letter. Perhaps his conclusion is partly right, for,
we must ask the question: for whom is the storm? That will depend
upon Divine Providence, and, Divine Providence depends upon the
Jewish people. If we have sufficient merit, then, the Balaks and
Bilaams of history are kept at bay, and maybe even suffer their own
storms. However, should we lack sufficient merit ...
Part Five: Aftermath & Yemos HaMoshiach
It is not over until it is over. In other words, until the actual war
of Gog and Magog begins and occurs, it is possible to avoid it, which
is one of the main reasons for writing this series of articles, and
others like it. We need to enter the Messianic era, whenever we do,
as peacefully as possible. And, though many commentators and later
day rabbis have been somewhat pessimistic about the chances of
national teshuvah taking place in time, it is not impossible.
For, history is never straightforward, and certainly Divine
Providence is not. It is exceedingly difficult to know what G-d has
in mind for any particular period of history, and certainly for the
'grand finale' of history as we have been used to it. Part of faith
and trust in G-d is that He has far more mercy than we might be
worthy of, and, out of love for our ancestors and their children --
us -- He might just show it at the very end.
However, according to those who predict the War of Gog and Magog to
occur, many say it will not last very long, though, we may not know
it at the time. This does not mean that there will not be deaths --
there have already been plenty. As we have said, it will be an
awesome test of faith, to help decide who have been truly faithful to
G-d and Torah, and were disloyal.
There will be great similarities between the redemption from Egypt
and that of the final days leading into Moshiach's time (Sanhedrin
111a). In Egypt, at some point in time, events changed the way people
thought. At some point, scoffers began to scoff less, and, even the
all-powerful Egyptian magicians were forced to admit they had
witnessed the 'finger' of G-d (Shemos 8:15). There simply comes a
time when events become too coincidental, too obvious to deny that a
Supernatural Being is responsible for them.
"... At the beginning Yemos HaMoshiach, there will be a combination
of nature and miracle working at one time, as we saw at the time of
the leaving of Egypt. Then, also, at the beginning of the redemption,
there were great miracles, yet, the Jewish people still were quite
physical and material; the zuhama was not removed from them until the
giving of Torah. See the Zohar end the end of Parashas Yisro. So,
even though G-d dealt with on the level of great miracles, still,
their lives were completely governed by nature. It will be the same
way in Yemos HaMoshiach, with the redemption being a function of both
great miracles and nature; the entire world will remain quite
physical, as well as the Jewish people. Any annulment of zuhama and
refinement of physicality will only begin later, and it will progress
slowly, for this is a major transition." (Sha'arei Leshem, p. 487)
It is not only man who changes, obviously, but the world in general.
It is hard for our generation to imagine what creation looks like and
feels like once G-d begins to remove the spiritual veils that block
our ability to feel His Presence. However, that is exactly what He
will do, and, as a result, all of creation will be 'pulled out' from
the world of spiritual impurity, and evil will fade away like a bad
dream after waking up.
The focus of history from that point onward will be on preparing the
bodies for eternal life in the World-to-Come, a multi-stepped process:
"... It is like a craftsman who extracts silver from its source in
the ground; in the beginning he puts it into an oven until all the
impurities of the ground are removed, and the silver remains. But not
perfect silver, until he puts it into the over again ... Likewise,
The Holy One, Blessed is He, puts the body into the ground until it
completely rots and all of the zuhama is removed, and only a small
amount of decomposed matter remains. From this He re-builds the body,
but not a perfect body ... What this means is that at the beginning,
He will build the body from the small amount of decomposed matter,
which will be clean and pure from zuhama. However, it will still be
quite physical and not in its true perfected state ... After that
Great Day, as it is written, "It will be a unique day; it will be
known as G-d's, neither day nor night" (Zechariah 14:7) ... This is
after the war of Gog and Magog, as it is written in 107b and many
places ... All of them will hide in the ground like before from the
fear and the power of The Holy One, Blessed is He, and this is what
it is written, "... and (idolaters) will enter caves in the rocks and
tunnels in the ground, because of the fear of G-d and from the glory
of His greatness" (Yeshayahu 2:19) ... This will also be in Yemos
HaMoshiach, as it says (Shemos 7b; Pinchas 243a) ... And their souls
will leave them ... In other words, many will die from the great fear
and awe alone! ... And, this small amount of decomposed matter will
decompose even more ... In other words, during the time from when
Moshiach comes until Techiyas HaMeisim physicality of the body will
also decompose ... The body will remain there to be re-built, and its
light will be like the light of the sun, like the light of Heaven.
(Zohar, Vayaira 115b-116a)."
The Leshem continues:
"For, from the time that Moshiach comes, all bodies will be re-built
pure and clean from any zuhama, but they will still be quite
physical. After that, they will decompose more and then be re-built
in Techiyas HaMeisim with splendor and they will give off light like
the sun and the Heavenly emanations. All of this pertains to those
who have already died as a result of the Angel of Death. However,
death for the generation that merits to live into Yemos HaMoshiach
will be from The Holy One, Blessed is He, directly, as it was for the
Forefathers, Moshe, Aharon, Miriam. They will not all die at the same
time, for, the world will not be destroyed in advance of Techiyas
HaMeisim. Rather, some will die early, and some later, just as it is
now. It will continue this way for a long time -- the entire
forty-year period of Kibbutz Golios until the first resurrection, as
well as the entire 210 years or 214 years after the first
resurrection until the last resurrection, as we mentioned previously.
Anyone who is not yet rectified by the time resurrection begins as is
fitting for eternal life, will die at the end."
We will discuss these points in more details next week, b"H.