Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Table Talk -- Balak 5767

Unfortunately, forecasters for this summer – not weather – but geopolitical, are predicting storms. With Hizbullah creeping ever-closer to Israel’s northern border, and Hamastan consolidating its power in the south, conditions seem ripe for another regional flare-up. What’s most amazing is that while Hizbullah -- the Shiite-based proxy-army of Iran, and Hamas – the Sunni-based terrorist organization/political movement – have publicly supported their respective attacks on Israel, both groups actually hate each-other. Dr. David Luchins even suggested during his visit to YIOP this year that the kidnapping of two soldiers in Lebanon that precipitated last summer’s war was Hizbullah’s warped way of showing up Hamas.

Still, as much as they hate each-other, they can easily agree on one issue: they both hate Israel more. And, as we see from our parshah, things today have not changed much from the times of the Chumash.

When the Torah introduces Balak as the king of Moav at the outset of our parshah, the Midrash tells us that in reality, Balak was originally a Midyanite prince. Moreover, the nations of Moav and Midyan often waged war, as the two countries hated one-another. If so, why do the people of Moav accept a prince from their mortal enemy as their ruler? The Ohr Hachayim explains that when Moav sees the Jewish nation approaching, fear of the Jews forces the two nations to make peace, hoping that their combined strength would repel the onslaught of the Jews.

So, when mortal enemies make peace to fight the Jews, we really should not be that surprised. It’s happened before, so why shouldn’t it happen again?