I've heard from Harav Mansour Shelit"a as well as other Hachamim that Yitro was rewarded by getting a Parasha named by him. With that in mind, why did Balak get a Parasha named after him?

  • 2
    That's not R' Mansour; that's Rashi.
    – b a
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 4:23
  • What about Noach Pinchas and Sarah?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 4:36
  • 1
    FWIW the gemara calls it Parashat Bil'am not Parashat Balak.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 5:26
  • 1
    By "parashah of Bil'am" it may mean the section (pesuchah/stumah) of Bil'am, i.e. not the entire sidra as we know it.
    – b a
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 5:45
  • @ba that's why I say "as well as other Hachamim". I was sure there was a source, but not sure where. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 12:28

2 Answers 2

  1. Due to the fact that Rus came from him, who is the for-bearer of Dovid HaMelech and Mashiach. (Source, source.)

  2. Balak realized that everything is controlled by Hashem. (Source.)

  • Fascinating! Would you please update the source of answer #2? The link is broken
    – NJM
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 22:37

What Rashi actually says regarding Yisro is that a parasha was added because of him. Thus:

יתר, על שם שיתר פרשה אחת בתורה (להלן פסוק כא) ואתה תחזה.

[He was called] Jether (יֶתֶר) because he [caused] a section to be added (יִתֵּר) to the Torah [namely]: “But you shall choose” (below verse 21).

This was drawn from the Sifrei on Behaalotecha.

In the popular retelling of this midrash, this was that he Yisro a parsha named after him. It is worthy to point out the difference between parasha and sidra in the language of Chazal. A parasha is the Biblical text from one gap to the next (petuchot and setumot), or in another context, the Torah portion of Eretz Yisrael, where they finished once every three years. Meanwhile, the term sidra refers to the Torah portion they read in Bavel, and which we read, in which we finish every year.

I don't think there is any need to justify the popular retelling of this, in which it is naming rather than adding, and it is the modern redefinition of parasha rather than Chazal's use of the term.

Besides that Chazal called it parashat Bilaam, as Double AA noted, the naming of parshiyot generally come from their opening words, and we need not find special merit to Balak.

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