(Haftara: Micah 5:6-6:8)
(Pirkay Avot: Chapter 6)
1. [24:5] “How good are your tents, Ya’acov…” Bila’am was originally supposed to curse Israel, but instead, he gave us a beautiful blessing and messianic prediction. Would his blessing have seemed more significant to us if it had started in a positive way, or is it more significant because it started in a negative way? What events in life can illustrate this idea?
2. [24:17] “…a star will step out of Ya’akov…” The “star” is understood to be either the Jewish people or the messiah. Why is a “star” the metaphor which is used. Wouldn’t “light” be a better image?
3. It has been said that Bila’am, at the end, sees the Israelites in such a positive way because he was not part of the Israelites. One has a better perspective from the outside. Can’t one sometimes have a clearer picture by seeing things from the inside?
4. [Michah 6:8] “…what does God ask of you, love kindness…” When the Temple was destroyed, one of our Rabbis said, “We have another way of receiving forgiveness from God, which is as good as the sacrifices—acts of kindness”. Why are acts of kindness so important that God would bring great blessing to the world because of those acts. Shouldn’t God be more interested in our relationship to Him, than He is in our relationship to people?
5. [Pirkay Avot 6:6] “…the Torah is acquired in 48 ways…with humility…” There is humility that is a result of low self-image, and there is a positive kind of humility. What self-image and what relationship to others does a person with positive humility have?
Once, when R. Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev was walking in the street, he met a man who held an important position in the community, but was very evil-minded. He said to him, “Sir, I envy you. When you turn to God, each of your flaws will become a ray of light, and you will shine with a great light. I envy your future radiance.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg
And to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker