Parsha Talk Balak 2022 5782

Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky bring us Parsha Talk! Parashat Balak [Numbers 22:2–25:9] is the second of the three parashiyot [portions] in Numbers named after a person. The Balak in question is the King of Moab, who sends away for a rent-a-prophet to come curse the Israelites. The prophet in question is Balaam first is forbidden by God to come, then receive permission. This sets the stage for one of the best known stories in biblical literature, the talking donkey [this was thousands of years before Mr. Ed, for those old enough to catch the reference!]. For the rabbis, this talking donkey was already prepared that first Friday afternoon of Creation. According to the Mishnah, Tractate Avot, this donkey is one of 10 things, all of a miraculous nature, created that first week, as if to suggest that if a miracle is part of nature, it is not quite the subversion of nature we often associate with miracles. This story of Balak and Balaam, which takes up most of the parashah, also takes up most of our coversation. Give a listen!
In the words of the prophet, “Out of Zion goes forth Torah, the word of God from Jerusalem”. I (BC) write these words and participated in our recording from the holy city of Jerusalem, where I have had the privilege to participate in an amazing professional development conference sponsored by Legacy Heritage Teachers Institute. Shabbat Shalom!