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This parashah narrates that Balak, King of Moav, wanted to fight the people of Israel, not militarily, but through the force of words.

The people were traveling towards the Land of Israel, and in order to reach the banks of the Jordan, and Jericho, which was the first city they had to conquer, they would have to cross several nations.

Moshe approached Bashan and said to his King Og "...let us pass, we are not going to drink your water, we are not going to eat your food, we only need to pass through your land to approach the Jordan River in order to reach the Land of Israel". Og replied to Moshe "...we are not going to let you pass; and if you still want to pass we will make war on you...".

Moshe had no choice but to make war with Bashan in order to approach the Jordan, and thus begin to fulfill the order to conquer the Land of Israel.

Subsequently, the same thing also happened with Sikhon, the king of the Emorites.

None of these peoples let the people of Israel pass, and they also fought them militarily.

When Israel arrives to Moav, their King Balak could have thought "...if the people of Israel only ask to pass through, we are going to let them pass..."; but instead he did not let them pass, and what he thought was...I do not have the army that Bashan has, nor Edom, nor the Emorites, etc, and if they, who are much more powerful have not been able to stop him, I will not be able to either, so where does Israel's strength lie? In their leader Moshe, and his strength is the word. Therefore, I have to look for a person of the same category so that I can fight them through the word.

And Balak, King of Moav, sent counselors to Bilham, to curse Israel. Bilham answers him that he cannot go at his own discretion, but that he must first ask G-d "...I am a messenger of G-d if He permits me to curse, I will curse...".

G-d tells Bilham " not curse this people for they are blessed...". As long as the people of Israel fulfill the will of G-d, they are spiritually elevated and have an armor that prevents the enemy from defeating them. Bilham, answers to the envoys "...I cannot go...".

Balak sends again other envoys of higher category to convince Bilham to come and curse Israel. Thinking it is a monetary problem he offers him more money.

Bilham insists on wanting to go and G-d tells him "...if you want to go, go; but you have to limit yourself to what I tell you...".

Bilham comes to the call and asks Balak to build seven altars, and to sacrifice offerings on each altar, so that he can curse the people of Israel. Bilham tries to curse, but what he does is to bless him.

Balak angrily tells Bilham "... I brought you here to curse, and instead you are blessing them! If you are going to continue blessing it is better for you to leave...". Bilham replies before

I can't curse him," Bilham replies before leaving. The people of Israel are spiritually armored, and no matter how hard I try, the curse will not come...".

This is similar to a healthy person who goes to a hospital, viruses and bacteria do not affect him. However, if the person is weak, and has a low immune system, these bacteria and viruses can harm him.

Evil exists and wants to attack, but if the person shields himself on a spiritual level, this shielding protects him. And this is the message that this parashah wants to teach us, the strength of the people of Israel is in their spirituality, and if they are fortified, even if the enemy wants to harm or destroy them, they cannot.

Bilham, before leaving, gives Balak some advice: "...the only way to defeat the people of Israel is to make them descend spiritually. So if you want to succeed in the fight against this people you have to remove their armor, making them fall spiritually...".

The Midrash explains that Bilham devised a plan, and communicated it to Balak " have to set up tents around the camp of Israel selling very cheap clothes. The sales clerks will be old women, but inside there will be young women. When the men of Israel go to buy the clothes, the young women will tempt them, they will make them fall into prostitution and idolatry of Baal Peor, and thus the people of Israel will lose their armor, and at that moment you will be able to defeat them....".

Bilham's plan succeeded, and this caused an epidemic and a death toll of twenty-four thousand people until Pinchas appeared, and with an act of rigor, managed to stop the epidemic.

Pinchas saw that a prince of the tribe of Shimon was with a princess of Midian, provoking Moshe, and he took a spear and pierced them both. The people reacted and stopped their prostitution. From that moment on, the epidemic ceased.

If we want to protect ourselves, the only solution is to fortify our spiritual armor.


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