Portion Balak - the Gentiles and the Donkey - and the Ohr Hachaim's Yahrzeit

Portion Balak - the Gentiles and the Donkey - and the Ohr Hachaim's Yahrzeit
This portion has three unanswered questions I would like to take on!

The ideas are only my thoughts and please do not blame any other rabbis or the Almighty or anyone if my ideas don't fit anyone's intellectual or religious system.

Why is this portion named after a heathen sorcerer - and what does that mean for Jews in 2018?

Why was a heathen prophet riding on a donkey - 40 years after Pharoah watched his hundreds of HORSES drown at the Red Sea?
Or didn't he own a camel?

What are we to learn from the anniversary  of the Holy Chaim Ibn Atar's  passing - which was this week?

First number three!

And it has to do with leaving messages in the cracks of the Holy Western Wall in Jerusalem!

The story is told that "the CHIDA" (student of Rabbi Chaim ibn Atar - and later the Genius Rabbi of Bagdad) was walking in Jerusalem when an old Kabbalist stopped him.
"You know there is a shining light about you!"
"No, what?" he answered.
The kabbalist asked him what he had done different that day.
A little embarassed, Chida said "I did my Rabbi's wishes - but a little late."
"How so ?" asked the older man.
"My Rabbi asked me some time ago to leave a note that he wrote in one of the cracks of the Western Wall - and I didn't do it. Maybe I thought it wasn't important? But
My teacher and Rabbi just passed away - so I hurried today to do it."
The kabbalist asked the Chida to walk him to the Wall and show him the note - and they opened it and the note said:

"Holy Spirit, please ask for mercy before the Almighty for my student Chida - Chaim Yosef  - among the leaders of Israel"

From that time on - after people heard that one of the Holy Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar's last acts
was to write a prayer and leave it at The Wall - people started leaving those kinds of messages.

Today hundreds of such notes are left at The Wall - the Kotel- for the Holy Spirit - 

and who knows when the Almighty hears those prayers? Maybe always!

We just know when the Almighty listened to the curses of Balak and Bilam - and MADE THEM BLESS THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL?

For Number TWO - many Torah commentators discuss Bilam's relationship with his donkey! That's not my question.

King Balak offers this Bilam-the-evil-prophet MILLIONS to come to the "Moav White House"
and curse the Israelites -
wouldn't you think he'd take a limousine? Or a chariot like Pharoah had?
So many commentators focus on the funny part - with the Talkiing Donkey -
who gets beaten 3 times by the greedy Gentile Prophet -
but Still seems he Gives the Rider Good Advice (which Bilam never followed).

I think the donkey is really ALWAYS talking to Bilam-the wierd-prophet!
There are lots of donkeys out there - but this one
Always sees things that Bilam doesn't! And Bilam obviously NEEDS the donkey -
or thinks he does! But Never Listens!

The whole portion is filled with BAD ADVICE (not from the donkey)-
and stubborn greed and hatred and mean spirits.

We all need to get real and listen to holy good advice - like in the Torah -
and avoid greed and meanness and hatred (like Bilam's and Balak's)
and not listen to greedy prophets and not need spiritual donkeys 


At the end of the portion finally

Moses is mentioned - but he is CRYING at the entrance to the Tabernacle because the people again just didn't get it!

This is a week too a Democratic Party member (Cortez) who criticizes Israel 
won a NYS primamry against an incumbent not known for speaking against Israel.

Is she a heathen sorcerer - or just playing into hatred sponsored by terror organizations
eating at the moral fabric of America? Either way we need to watch out! The Torah warns us!

The world has a lot of liars in high places, often blaming the Jews for surviving and not disappearing.

We neeed to stay away from heathens and sorcerers and public liars like king Balak and advisor Bilam!

Yes in 2018 there are still people trying to curse the light of the Israelite -
so let's read the portion and look for our own answers to today's issues
and turn bad-vibes into BLESSINGS.

Shabbat Shalom
Love from Israel

Rabbi Andy Eichenholz