Parshas Balak :
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/webreb.htm

Parshas Balak:

Pasuk (22:23)

Bilam hits his donkey, for he was upset that his donkey was taking him off the path.

Hashem then opens the donkey's mouth and starts complaining to Bilam, why he hit him, these three times. Bilam than answers his donkey "what do you want, you went off the way, so I hit you".

Rashi explains that he hit the donkey for embarrassing him, and for being disrespectful.

Comes Hagaon Rav Y.D. Solvetchek Zt"l and explains that this is the way of haughty people.

They want respect even from their donkey!

Not only that but Bilam even told his donkey that he was lucky, for if he had a sword he would have killed him on the spot!

Even though that by killing the donkey, he would have no way of transportation.

Still this was worth it for Bilam, as long as his donkey gets punished.

At times we may do similar acts. If someone got us angry, we may try to punish him, even though it may hurt us even more than the other person.

We have to try to hold back our anger, before we get angry, we must think a second, is the reason that I am getting angry at him is because he hurt my ego, or because the other really did something wrong that deserves to be commented on.

Yet we see from the Midrash Tanchuma that the donkey was slain at the end, for Hashem set aside his own honor, of leaving the donkey alive and having people say, look this is a donkey who spoke, the dumbest of animals against one of the smartest human (Bilam), and it would have brought a Kidush Hashem.

Nevertheless, Hashem wanted to preserve Bilams dignity.

Comes Rav Chaim Shmulevitz and explains that this idea, is used to show us how we must emulate Hashem in all his ways.

We must be constantly concerned about the dignity of every person. We must try and make every possible effort to prevent sinners from falling even further, regardless of their degree of wickedness, yet we must at the same time make much effort to prevent the unwarranted humiliation of every human being regardless of where he is holding in life.

Also, Rav Pliskin brings down that we see that here Bilam is going to curse a whole nation which did nothing against him, and he hits his donkey for going off the path.

Here he is going against Hashem's will , to curse Am Yisroel, and yet he is angry if his donkey does a minor detour from his will.

When we are unsatisfied about how one acts towards us, let us take that episode, and look deeper in our actions and ask ourselves if we act similar to others, or how we ignore Hashem's commands, or expectations from us.

Pasuk: (22:12 )

Bilam is commanded not to curse the nation of Israel, because they are blessed.

Rashi brings down the Mashal of "not from the bees honey, and not from the bees sting", (which is said when one doesn't want a "Tzar" on himself).

Comes the Admor from VeSheveh and explains that we know the honey that comes out of the bee is allowed to be eaten.

Even though we know that ,"whatcomes out of a Tamei animal is Tamei", the honey that comes out of a bee is permitted. Honey is not considered Tamei, for the bee is only used as a vessel to hold the honey to pass from the flower to the honeycomb.

However, when it stings, it comes from its body, which is Tamei.

Now we can understand better why Rashi compares Bilam to the bee.

For his blessings were not from him, but just passed from Hashem without being at all affected by Bilam's inner self and bad personality.

This is not the same when we talk about his curses and bad advice, this comes from his inner evil.

Pasuk (24:3):

Bilam calls himself Shesum Ha-ayin (open eye).

Rashi comes and explains that one of Bilam's eyes was pierced, and came out, and the eye looked open.

He then brings down another opinion which says that Bilam was actually blind in one of his eyes.

While Onkelos writes that Shesum Ha-ayin means that he Davkah saw well in that eye.

We see that Onkelos gives a totally opposite explanation than that of Rashi's?

Rav Meller brings down in his Sefer Shay Leh Torah, that Davkah in the eye that was pierced, did he see well.

He brings down a true story to bring out this point.

During the holocaust one of the high ranking officers of the Nazi (there name should be erased for eternity) army was missing an eye. He went to a famous hospital in Berlin, where they implanted a glass eye in its place.

The doctors were such great experts, that the eye was so real, that one could not discern which eye was the real eye.

Once he told a Jewish lady who he was about to kill, that if she would be able to discern which eye was real, he would spare her from certain death.

The lady answered him with complete certainty, which eye was real.

He asked how she was so certain which eye was real.

She answered him, that she knew right away, for the glass eye had no hatred in it.

From this we can understand more how both Rashi and Onkelos can agree.

Yes he was blind in one eye, and since he was blind in that eye, that eye saw the correct way, it wasn't affected by his hatred to wipe out the Jews, it was open.

While his real eye, was full of hatred for the Jews, thus it affected the way he saw the reality of the Jewish people. He then saw them as a threat and thus he didn't see well in his good eye.

We too, at times when we have prior judgment of a person, we tend to be partially blinded, and don't see a person, the way he really is.

We must fix our sight to see the true good in people, and become like Tzadikim.

That even after death they are considered alive, and not like Reshaim, that even in life, they are dead.

Same to, at times one may see in his life time, yet his sight is blind.

While there are those who (Chas Veh Shalom) are blinded at birth, yet they have a clear view in life.



In Pasuk (22:32) Bilam is asked, why he hit his donkey.

The Rambam writes in Moreh Nevuchim(part 3,17) that we know that Tzar Ba-alei Chaim (T.B.C) is D'orisah, from the statement of "why did you hit your donkey."

Rabbi Yakov Kamenetsky Z"tl comes and explains that there may be a difference between T.B.C when he does it with his hands, it is forbidden by the Torah, while when we are dealing with helping another with his load, this is a type of TBC, which comes by itself, and therefore, the Rambam would hold it is forbidden D'Raban, in that case.

There is the commandment of Tzar Baalei Chaim (TBC) that we learn in this Parsha.

One is commanded by the Torah not to hurt or act cruelly and brutally to any animal.

If for some reason one is required to kill an animal, he should do it in a manner that the animal has the least amount of suffering.

One is required to help another take a heavy load off his animal, even in a case that the owner is a Goy or an enemy, because the commandment of Tzar Ba-alei Chaim is Dehorysah.

The Torah also commands against covering the animals mouth while it is working in the field.

There are those that forbid one to pluck out of a live duck, its feathers, for they hold that it is painful to the animal. While others permit it, for they hold that this is not cruelty and there is a need for the feathers while the animal is alive. For when there is a need for man or to help heal man, one is allowed.

The Sh"T Sheilat Yavetz brings down that if one owns an animal, which relies on its owner for food, he is required to make sure that it is fed before he eats, for it falls under this category of T.B.C.

He also discuses further on if T.B.C applies to all living creature.

He brings down that it only applies to an animal that you use to work with, which might include even a cat and a dog, since they are also tamed animals.

However flies and fleas and other such insects are disgusting and there is also a chance for one to stumble and eat one if it falls in his food, and also a chance to catch a sickness from them, and they also bother humans, so one does not have to worry about T.B.C. when he kills them.

Even though the Ari ZT"l made sure not to kill even a louse, yet this is Minhag Chasidut.

One is allowed to kill an animal only if he has need for it, like its blood for ink.

However one is forbidden to kill an animal if it is done as a sport, like hunting.

(One should not rely on the above a final Psak Halacha one should consult his Local Reliable Orthodox Rabbi (LROR))

Good Shabbos!!