The story of Balaam and Balak attempting to curse the Jewish nation before they entered the Land of Israel is undoubtedly one of the strangest narratives in the Torah. How could a prophet of God think he can outsmart God? Why is Balak so intent on cursing the nation, rather than ambushing and neutralizing them in a military strike? Why was Balak so eager for the Jewish nation not to reach the land? What is the meaning of Balaam’s rather obscure “blessings” — which, in any event, would be better defined as “proclamations”?
Rabbi Dunner shares a profound piece from the Nesivos Sholom which explores this entire episode from a completely different angle. By focusing on an illuminating Midrash and a beautiful insight from the Maggid of Mezeritch, the Nesivos Sholom shows how preventing the Jewish nation from reaching the Land of Israel was profoundly important for the forces of evil, as represented by the two dastardly villains of the story: King Balak and his eager assistant, the prophet Balaam.