Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Balak

Our Achilles' Heel

Bilaam's advice to Balak that the way to defeat Israel was through weakening its moral fiber and not necessarily by war and public curses was shrewd and telling and effective. The enemies of Israel in the desert - the Canaanites, Amalek, Sichon and the Emorites, and Og the king of Bashan - all tried war against the Jewish nation and were ultimately defeated. Balak tries to destroy Israel through Bilaam's mouth - a public relations, media blitz to demonize the Jews. God foils this plan and Bilaam's mouth spouts blessings and compliments upon Israel. There seems no way to really overcome the members of the Jewish people. They are great warriors and the Lord is on their side. But they have an achilles heel that God will not come to protect. They are capable of self-destruction in a major way. And that weakness lies in the temptations of foreign cultures, of a sophisticated idolatry, in a way of sexually immoral lifestyle and illicit behavior. The women of Moav and Midian seduce many of the Jews - especially the tribe of Shimon - into accepting their culture and their mores as a quid pro quo for their bodies. The tribe of Shimon is decimated by a plague that befalls them shortly thereafter. The tribe of Shimon is permanently crippled in Jewish history by this failure of moral will. And, at least temporarily, Bilaam and Balak smirk over their consequences of Jewish self-destruction.

In our time the Jewish people have survived, Holocaust, war, terror, persecution and unending hatred and bigotry. We have been subjected to a withering and unrepentant badly biased and skewed media portrayal of ourselves and of the State of Israel particularly. Everyone loves to curse us - the EU, the UN, CNN, BBC and the rest of the world's sanctimoniously hypocritical "good guys." But the Lord apparently does not read the editorial page of the New York Times and therefore even this unending bombardment of negativity has in reality had little effect upon us and our situation. However, the seduction of Western culture, of the modern licentiousness of body and spirit, of assimilation and marrying the daughters of Midian and Moav, has weakened us. It has made us smaller in number and weaker in resolve and spirit. Adopting universalistic values that change constantly over basic Jewish values and traditions has crippled us in our struggle to survive and prosper. This behavior and attitude, fostered by secular Jewry, and to a great extent, non-Orthodox Jewish leaders as well, has destroyed our self-identity and self-worth. We are no longer unique and special, with a Godly mission to fulfill but we are like everyone else. And that is our weakness that if not recognized and corrected can lead to disaster and sadness.

Shabat Shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein



 

ARTICLES ON TERUMAH:

View Complete List

Where Heaven Meets Earth
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

A Prior Commitment
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Studying the Mishkan
Shlomo Katz - 5771

> An Offering We Can't Refuse
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

The Ultimate Elevated-Offering
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Symbolism of the Aron
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

To Rest His Presence
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Can Anything Contain G-d?
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Intention Equals Value
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

ArtScroll

Grinding Ground Flour
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

To Dwell Within You
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Do You Measure Up?
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Vows in a Time of Distress
Shlomo Katz - 5760

It's All About the Effort
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5763

The True T'rumah
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Build a "Cottage" for Hashem
Shlomo Katz - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information