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 This week's parsha introduces us to the usual suspects who are always present and active in Jewish history and world affairs. Balak and Bilaam are prototypes of the enemies of the Jewish people throughout the ages. They really have no legitimate cause to be our enemies. They impute hostile and aggressive behavior to the Jewish people, when in reality none of this is present.

They are motivated by jealousy, greed,  and a terrible misreading of the situation that leads them to unreasoning hatred and the wish to eliminate the Jewish people completely. It is the existence of the Jewish people that truly troubles them. They resent the fact that the Jewish people left Egypt and were rescued from bondage. They also resent the special and unique experience of the Jewish people in receiving the Torah.
Still further, they resent the fact that the Jewish people will have a homeland and national state in the Land of Israel. So they engage in a seemingly nonviolent campaign to destroy the Jewish people. False accusations, curses and hatemongering create the tools of their campaign.
The Talmud pointed out to us that from the so-called blessings of Bilaam we are able to deduce what his real intentions were and what curses he intended to inflict on the Jews. Balak is willing to invest time, a great deal of money and his personal and national prestige in this attempt to discredit and eventually destroy the Jewish people.
He knows that he needs someone who will spearhead this drive and he also knows that such people are always available…..for a price. And it is also obvious that when it comes to the opposition to the Jewish people, money is no object. Therefore Balak and Bilaam form the perfect pair, the odd couple that is joined by their common goal of hatred of the Jewish people.
This couple is alive and well in our time. There are countless numbers of people, supported by all sorts of high sounding nongovernmental organizations all dedicated to the cause of delegitimizing Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people generally. And there is no shortage of money, just as in the case of Balak, to finance this project. EU money, Arab money, and private money all flow into this effort to curse Israel and the Jews.
The goal of Balak is not so much to help his own people as it is to destroy others. All of this money, which currently is directed solely towards destroying Israel could be channeled into helping millions of Moslems rise from poverty, hunger and disease. But that is not the goal of this money.
Balak only wants the destruction of the Jews. And in our time, there is no shortage of spokespeople who wish to advance this nefarious  cause. There are always many Bilaams ready and prepared to ride the populist cause of blaming the Jews and the Jewish state for all of the ills and problems of the world.
Bilaam has a serpent’s tongue. He speaks in a complimentary tone and in a reassuring voice. But that only serves to mask the enmity that he feels towards the Jewish people, an enmity that has no personal or national basis. Well, he is around today as well and we have to simply recognize that the world will eventually realize that its curses should be transmuted into blessings.
Shabbat shalom
Rabbi Berel Wein

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