Parshas Balak 2005
By Reb Moshe
When a person comes to the Palace of the King, right away the guards inquire who this person is. They search him to see if he is carrying any weapons, they inspect his attire to decide if in their opinion he is worthy of such a visit. After getting clearance, they watch his every move as their job is to guard the King and his palace. They understand that compared to the King, this person is nothing and they see all his faults as a mere human being and peasant of the land. None the less, he is a Jew and because he is a Jew they can’t turn him away so easily. Therefore, before they take him directly to the King, they take him to the other rooms of the palace to delay him and to try and find the other faults he might possess. They befriend him and serve him delicacies to take his mind off of his true goal, to see the King and come close to him. Before he knows it, he has delighted in the pleasures of this world and is too tired to continue his journey. Another day has passed.
When a person comes to Eretz Yisrael to live or visit in the orchard of Hashem’s Kingdom, they sense a peacefulness and wholeness inside them. They have arrived at the ultimate destination. This is the land of the King. Fresh and plush with flowers and pleasant lights though not as in its former and future glory. Once again though, they are tried by the officers of the King and taken to many rooms to delight in the pleasures of the pastures. This brings out both their positive and negative qualities. Both clarity and confusion also come forth. They are so close to the King they don’t even realize it. If only they would close their eyes for a moment so as not to see all the pastures at once but only those which lead to goodness. They would be immediately taken to stand before the King.
Chazal teach us that a person should always view themselves as on a balance and this very second they can tip the scale to either side. When you have a large tower, it’s important that the foundation is very wide and strong. As the tower goes higher into the air, its floors are many times thinner and the tippy top is even thinner. We stand here this moment at the top of the tower of the world. Chazal say that at first the blessing for the Jewish people goes to Eretz Yisrael and then spills out into the rest of the world. We are truly at the top and foremost to receive this very moment from Hashem. Let us close our eyes to the allusions that be front us and realize how truly close we are to Hashem this holy Shabbos.
Tzfat represents the hidden light of Hashem. To see the hidden light one must be hidden. They need to possess the qualities of humility and selflessness. What is needed is also a quest for truth and the will power to come close to Hashem. Balak was a man who desired to destroy truth. How could he be so blinded by the falseness to not realize that the Jewish people were holy and could not be touched by his false ways? Baalam on the other hand was much closer to the hidden lights but involved in the pleasures of the pastures, he could not differentiate between good and evil. Rebbe Nachman says in Torah 15, that if one wants to experience the hidden light, the mysteries of the Torah, they should elevate the quality of fear to its source. This means that they should be a master at balancing themselves on the scale of judgment. A person does this through the means of hisbodidus, self reflection and meditation to Hashem on a regular basis. Through this, they no longer fear the exterior things of this world and are then blessed with daat, understanding. Baalam possessed wisdom but his fear of Hashem was lacking. He therefore did not have daats. When entering the Kings palace, he followed the guards and enjoyed the pleasures of the many rooms. He didn’t really have the will power to come close to Hashem.
Many wonder how they can improve their avodas Hashem, service of G-D. They realize that the main thing that is lacking within them is simply the will power to change. Part of them has given up on coming close to Hashem as they do not know a solution to awaken themselves. The answer is simply regular hisbodidus. This directs the clarity in ones mind to pursue a path of truth. It can increase ones will power and it cleans the soul. May it be Hashem’s will that we see with clarity all that we have to be thankful for and that the hidden light of Torah should shine into us bringing us clarity and joy.