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By Rabbi Moshe Selengut

The פרשה begins with בלק מלך מואב employing the services of בלעם as an effort to destroy Klal Yisrael.  בלק sends emissaries to בלעם asking him to use his “chemical warfare” and curse the Jewish people. ה׳ warns בלעם not to oblige, ״כי ברוך הוא״.  Accordingly, בלעם politely refuses. Undeterred, בלק sends him yet another delegation to lure him in, this time more prestigious and prominent than the first, promising a hefty package replete with honor and wealth. Again, בלעם refuses his request and says that he cannot oppose the word of ה׳. That night however, ה׳ comes to בלעם and tells him (פסוק כ׳ ע״פ רש״י) that if he’s in it for the money he may go, on condition that he heeds the word of ה׳.

Rav Schwab asks, why all of the sudden is ה׳ allowing that which he so vehemently rejected the first time around? Why should the abundance of כבוד and money suddenly play a role? Additionally, many מפרשים ask, that if ה׳ finally gave him permission to go as we see in פסוק כ׳, why in פסוק כ״ב does it say ״ויחר אף אלוקים כי הולך הוא״, implying that he did not grant permission? רש״י answers this by saying”ראה שרע בעיני המקום ונתאוה לילך” in other words the problem wasn’t that he was going- for that he had permission, the problem was that he was ״נתאוה לילך״-  he desired to go. Why does it make a difference where his desires lie, this seems trivial in the bigger scheme of things? What is רש״י telling us? Lastly, R’ Schwab points out a very puzzling occurrence in the sequence of the פסוקים. As בלעם sets out on his journey the (תורה (פסוק כ״א says ״וילך עם שרי מואב״, that בלעם traveled with his entourage of שרי מואב, but when the מלאך comes and stops him in פסוק כ״ב it seems that they are nowhere to be found, as the פסוק says ״הוא רכב על אתונו ושני נעריו עמו״. Then after the מלאך disappears in פסוק ל״ה, once again the entourage returns- as it says ״וילך בלק עם שרי מואב״. How are we to understand the separating and reassembling?

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Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky shlita and Rav Avrohom Schorr shlita speaking at an evening of Chizuk.