Why did Bilaam hate Israel? Even after prophetic visions seeing how praiseworthy of a people they are he still tries to curse them. Even after singing their praises in prophetic song.

You can say unwarranted hate is possible but he does things so out of the norm to try to curse Israel, even going against Hashem's word initially and against his own honor (e.g. he had no chariot and led the pack of Balak's men with a donkey he saddled himself). Even after his prophetic visions he tries to give Balak advice on how to harm Israel if they were to ever stray (G-d forbid!). This also would unlikely give him any honor, considering he was talking about future times unrelated to Balak. Anyone have an idea why this is so?

  • 1
    See Rashi Bamidbar 22:11, which will strengthen your question even more. -- "but Balaam hated them more than did Balak." -- based on the Midrash Tanchumah and Rabbah.
    – Menachem
    Jul 6, 2014 at 21:07
  • R' Hertz comments in his Chumash that Bilaam probably had not heard of 'Am Yisrael. Jul 6, 2014 at 21:16
  • 1
    The question can be asked about antisemitism in general.
    – Ypnypn
    Jul 6, 2014 at 23:36
  • I read balam as a sycophant rather than an anti Semite
    – Baby Seal
    Jul 7, 2014 at 2:37
  • because of Jealously
    – Adam
    Jul 2, 2020 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


Bilaam and Lavan were related (according to Midrash Tanchuma they were the same person) - see here.

This Parsha Question Sheet says that Bilaam hated The Jews because: Bilam thought that Ya’akov made him poor by robbing Lavan’s assets . As a source, they quote the Sanhedrin 105a, however, I did not see it there.

This does fit well with the idea that Bilaam had an unhealthy love of money, which eventually lead to his death (see Rashi on Bamidbar 31:8)

  • I am uncomfortable with this being the accepted answer, when I couldn't find it in the source quoted for said answer. If anyone else knows a source for this, please let me know (it could also be there, and I just missed it)
    – Menachem
    Jul 7, 2014 at 4:09
  • Took off as accepted for now. Was thinking same thing but it provides good answer (if proof is proven true). Will become accepted answer again when proven to be found in Sanhedrin 105a or more concrete source.
    – code613
    Jul 7, 2014 at 12:35
  • brought here as well, again without a source: facebook.com/…
    – Menachem
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:44
  • I think in the source Sanhedrin 105a it could be a Rashi / Tosafos ד״ה אחת בימי יעקב Jul 2, 2020 at 13:48
  • @DanielRoss I don't see it. Rashi is saying the opposite. He is saying the Lavan tried to uproot everything of Yaakov's
    – Menachem
    Jul 2, 2020 at 18:49

Being that billam was the highest rep of the sharei tummah ......and the tummah always seeks to eradicate any form of kedusha

he needs no reason to hate the jews


In Batei Midrashos here (second paragraph) he notes that Bilaam thought that Bnei Yisroel would be redeemed from mitzrayim and given the Torah through him. When all of this happened but through Moshe Rabbeinu it made him intensely jealous.

  • Oy vey - jealousy can make us do terrible things.
    – user16556
    Jul 2, 2020 at 15:39

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