Balak: A Misunderstood King

When people read the Story of Balaam, they always focus on the Talking Donkey. I can’t understand why. The Torah Portion is named after me, King Balak of Moab, and, after all, talking donkeys are nothing unusual. I daresay, Reader, that you may have heard one or two, or several, mainly in politics, which we […]

Balak by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Balak: Peace Hopes, Priestly Zeal, and Homicide by Rabbi David Hartley Mark   “While Israel was camping at Shittim, the people profaned themselves…with the Moabite[?] women, who invited the people to the sacrifices for their god, Baal-Peor. The people partook of [the sacrifices] and worshiped that god. …Just then, an Israelite man came and brought […]

Balak: The Donkey, and Other Players By David Hartley Mark

Balak ( בלק) Torah: Numbers 22:2 – 25:9 Haftarah: Micah 5:6 – 6:8 Balaam’s Donkey: It is odd that I am among the most famous creatures in the Bible—sad indeed, given all the unknown human innocents who die in this Holy Book, and in this Holy World which God created, and from which he seems […]

Haftorah of Balak: Prophet Micah, 5:6-6-8 by David Hartley Mark

It is useful to turn from the well-known tale of Bilaam’s donkey to the life-story of the Prophet Micah, who spoke Truth to Power in his day (end of 8th Century BCE). He was a younger contemporary of First Isaiah, and lived in a small town about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, Moreshet Gath. Like […]

Magic and Judaism: How Is It Possible? (Parsha Balak)

Download the notes for Parsha Balak or read below. Parsha Balak (Numbers 22:2-­‐25:9): Judaism and Witchcraft Balak, the king of Moab, summons the prophet Balaam to curse the people of Israel. On the way, Balaam is berated by his ass, who sees, before Balaam does, the angel that G‐d sends to block their way. Three times, […]