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Questions tagged [parashat-balak]

The weekly Torah portion of Balak (Numbers 22:2–25:9)

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What is the form of טבו in מה טבו אהליך יעקב?

In the verse (Num 24,5): מַה־טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ What's the meaning of טובו, could it not be written מה טובים אהליך יעקב?
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How was Elazar HaKohen allowed to marry the daughter of Puti (Yisro)?

Rashi (quoting Sanhedrin 82b) states that Pinchas' mother was the daughter of Puti (Yisro). We know that a kohen may not marry a convert (Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 6,8), and if a kohen does marry a ...
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Was Bilam evil?

In a plain reading of the text it seems that Bilam acted righteously. He always did as Hashem commanded, prostrated immediately before the angel that he met, blessed the Jewish people and forthrightly ...
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Why does the Torah not specify that Bil'am advised Balak until later on?

The end of parshat Balak tells us the story that B'nai Yisra'el involved themselves with licentiousness by relating with the daughters of Midian. Only later, In Bemidbar 31:16, when Moshe gets angry ...
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How did Pinchas kill Zimri? (technically)

It says (Rashi on Chumash, Sanhedrin ) "He miraculously struck exactly at Zimri’s male and her female parts " I can understand how this could have killed Cozbi (by puncturing her vital inner organs) ...
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Why does Hashem' anger flare when Balaam goes with the Moabite officials? [duplicate]

"God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If these men have come to call for you, arise and go with them, but the word I speak to you-that you shall do. In the morning Balaam arose, saddled his ...
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Hang up people to cause the anger of the Lord to turn

Could someone explain to me how the anger of the Lord is turned by hanging people in view for all to watch? Numbers 25:4 (Mechon-mamre translation): "Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them ...
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Act of Love vs. Act of Righteousness

Devarim 23:6 - דברים כו פסוק ו וְלֹֽא־אָבָ֞ה הוי"ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ לִשְׁמֹ֣עַ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיַּהֲפֹךְ֩ הוי"ה אֱלֹקיךָ לְּךָ֛ אֶת־הַקְּלָלָ֖ה לִבְרָכָ֑ה כִּ֥י אֲהֵֽבְךָ֖ הוי"ה אֱלֹקיךָ׃ But the L-RD ...
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The fourth generation Numbers 23:10

Numbers/Bamidbar 23:10 reads: et roba Yisrael - אֶת־רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל I noticed roba is connected with ribea רִבֵּעַ meaning great-grandson, but refers to the fourth generation. The previous words ...
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How is Teruah connected to friendship and closeness

I came across this article from which I would like to quote something: The concept of Malchuso b'khal adaso allows Bnei Yisroel to transform the teruah from a destructive sound of war into a sound ...
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Bil’am cursing terminology - א.ר.ר, ק.ב.ב and ק.ל.ל

Within the story of Balak and Bil’am I noticed a shift in words for curse and cursing. In Numbers 22:6 Balak asks Bil’am to curse him the Israelites ארה-לי, of which the root seems to be ארר. Numbers ...
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Remember Balak and Balaam

My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab devised (plotted against you) and what (how) Balaam the son of Beor answered (responded to) him; from Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know (will ...
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Mah Tovu comparison within the verse

Bamidbar/Numbers 24:5 contains the famous verse which is also recited in the Mah Tovu prayer: How goodly are thy tents, O Ya'akov, thy dwellings, O Yisrael - מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; ...
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'עם' & 'את' based words in the story of Lot and Avram

I don't know the exact sources but I remembered some commentaries from the Malbim and Vilna Gaon which point out a difference between 'את'-based words and 'עם'-based words (both translated to mean '...
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Is there a difference between a קֻּבָּ֗ה and an אהל?

In Bamidbar 25:8, Pinchas follows the Israelite אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה. According to Rashi, a Kubah is a tent ( and the Rashbam sort of agrees, saying "inyan ohel" which Sefaria translates as "A kind of tent."...
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Why does it matter that Balak clapped?

In Bamidbar, 24:10, we read וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף בָּלָק֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיִּסְפֹּ֖ק אֶת־כַּפָּ֑יו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר בָּלָ֜ק אֶל־בִּלְעָ֗ם לָקֹ֤ב אֹֽיְבַי֙ קְרָאתִ֔יךָ וְהִנֵּה֙ בֵּרַ֣כְתָּ בָרֵ֔ךְ זֶ֖ה שָׁלֹ֥שׁ ...
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ויעש בלק כאשר אמר בלעם vs ויעש בלק כאשר דבר בלעם

The first time Bilaam attempts to curse Bnei Yisrael, he tells Balak to build seven mizbachot and to sacrifice a ram and cow on each one. The pasuk then tells us in Bamidbar 23:2 that וַיַּ֣עַשׂ ...
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Balak ending on a sad note

The end of parshas Balak is the sin at Shitim with the Bnos Moav, culminating in the sin of Zimri and Cozbi. Pinchas kills them both, stopping the plague. That would have been a good place to stop, ...
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Why does Bilaam change Balak's request when talking to Hashem?

In Parshat Balak, Balak tells Bilaam that הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם הִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת עֵין הָאָרֶץ, however, when Bilaam is repeating this to Hashem, he says הִנֵּה הָעָם הַיֹּצֵא מִמִּצְרַיִם ...
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Was Bilaam the grandson of Laban?

In Bamidbar 22:5 "...Bilaam the son of Beor..." I can't remember where I may have seen it, that Laban (brother of Rachel) had a son named Beor. Could this be the same Beor as mentioned in Parsha Balak?...
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Explain the difference in usage of G-d's name in parshat Balak

It seems that Bil'am refers to G-d using the name אדונ-י but when G-d appears to him, the name אלוהי-ם is used. For example, compare: Bemidbar 22:8 Bil'am uses יי ; next verse (9) when G-d speaks to ...
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Why is YHVH called “a man of war” in Shemot 15:3?

In Shemot 15:3 in the song of Moshe he declares that YHVH is "a man of war"; however, in Bamidbar 23:19 it says, "G_d is not a man , that He should lie". What is the explanation for this contradiction?...
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Since Pinchas was a Cohen why was he allowed to kill Zimri and Cozbi?

Since it says in the Torah that a Cohen is prohibited from being around dead people, then how come Pinchas who was a Cohen was permitted to kill Zimri and Cozbi. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak ...
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Hashem's apparent inconsistency with Bilam

Does anyone know of a convincing explanation of Hashem's behaviour with Bilam? It looks like He couldn't be more inconprehensible if He tried. First, He starts off by refusing to allow Bilam to go at ...
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Explain the “mechanics” of Bilam's blessings

I am trying to understand the actual "mechanics" of Bilam's blessing B'nai Israel, in view of these verses: Devarim (Deut.) 23:6 says that G-d "converted" Bilam's curses to a blessing. My ...
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How could Zimri be Shelumiel?

After mulling over this question for a bit, I realized that there's a big problem with that Gemara quoted there. Shelumiel is listed back in Bamidbar 1, before the sin of the Meraglim. By the time the ...
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What is the nuance expressed by Bilam in B'midbar 23:12?

When explaing G-d's command to Balak, in B'midbar 22:38, Bilam says "what G-d places in my mouth is what I shall speak." In B'midbar 23:12, his phrasing is, "... Whatever G-d places in my mouth is ...
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Why wasn't Zimri executed before Pinchas acted?

At the end of Parshat Balak we get the following sequence: The people, en masse it appears, go after Ba'al Peor. God tells Moshe to execute all the leaders in response. Moshe tells the judges to kill ...
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Were Zimri and Cozbi inside or outside?

Bamidbar 25:6 says: וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא, וַיַּקְרֵב אֶל-אֶחָיו אֶת-הַמִּדְיָנִית, לְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה, וּלְעֵינֵי כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד.&...
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Why was it so important for Hashem to create the 'mouth' of the ass

We read in Balak that the ass 'spoke' to Bilaam. This was a special miracle that an ass could speak, made during the six days of creation. Hashem doesn't make miracles for nothing. What is the great ...
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How can we chastise Bilaam for using the same word as Hashem did?

The medrash Tanchuma on parshas Balak #9 says ויאמר בלעם לאתון כי התעללת בי(בלק כ׳ב כ׳ט). אף על פי שמדבר בלשון הקדש גוי לשונו סרוח. The Etz Yosef explains that התעללת is an impure expression as we ...
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Why are 2 Midianites mentioned in the Torah named “bird”?

There are two Midianites mentioned in the Torah that are both named "bird": Tziporah - Moses' wife Tzipor - Balak's father This does not seem coincidental to me. Was it common for Midianites at the ...
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Getting in the way of a zealot

When Pinchas slew Cozbi and Zimri, he was acting in accordance to a lesser known law, the law of the zealot, that says that if one sees certain sins being performed (I don't know what qualifies) he is ...
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Did Kozbi deserve to die?

In the end of Parshas Balak (Bamidbar 25:8), Pinchas kills an Israelite who was cohabiting with a Midianite woman in front of the Jewish people. I understand that the Israelite deserved to be killed ...
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Moav or Midian - who seduced the Jews at Shitim?

Who were the women seducers in Shitim who caused the Jewish people to stray after their gods (Baal Peor), discussed in Parshas Balak and Pinchas? On the one hand, it seems like the women came from ...
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What nationality was Bilam?

In Numbers 22:5, the Torah is unclear as to where Pethor is. If it wants to tell us where Pethor is, then tell us, but one can only figure out where Pethor is if one knows of which people was Bilam. ...
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Why did Bilaam hate Israel?

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 ...
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Why is Bil'am not surprised that his mule is talking to him?

During the scene in parshat Balak, it says that "God opened the mule's mouth" and it asked Bil'am why he hit him. Bil'am answers the donkey. It seems that he is not surprised at all that the donkey is ...
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Pairs in Balaam's blessings

In all of Balaam's blessings, nearly every phrase is repeated in similar wording. For example: Arise, Balak, and hear - listen closely to me, son of Zippor. God is not a man that He should lie ...
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If prophets can only be “good guys” how come Balaam become a prophet?

I've heard that in Judaism, God don't just randomly appoint people to be a prophet. The prophet must be some "good" guy or pious or whatever. If that's the case, why is balaam a prophet? He's not ...
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Why give gentiles an evil prophet?

Rashi in Bamidbar 22:5 addresses Bilam's being a prophet: "Why did the Holy One rest his Divine Presence upon a wicked gentile? So that the nations of the world should not have an excuse [as to why ...
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Why do some transliterate “Balaam” when the Hebrew is “Bilaam”?

I've noticed that most translations render the gentile prophet's name Balaam, while the Hebrew is Bilaam (difference in first vowel). JPS does this in its translation, and people even do it here on ...
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Why was the Shechinah bestowed upon Bil'am? [duplicate]

In the beginning of Parashat Balak, Rashi writes: If you ask, “Why did God bestow His Shechinah on a wicked gentile?” [The answer is] so the nations should not have an excuse to say, “Had we had ...
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Who is Tzippor?

Parashat Balaq indirectly references "Tzippor" five times (by introducing Balaq as "ben Tzippor"). I don't believe Rashi brings down any background regarding Tzippor. If the Torah refers to Balaq as "...
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Why might we think that Moses did not write Parashat Bil'am?

In Bava Basra 14b, a ברייתא is quoted as saying "Moshe wrote his book (i.e. the Pentateuch), Parashat Bil'am, and [the Book of] Iyov." Why did the ברייתא even raise the issue of Moshe's authorship of ...
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What happened to Balak?

What ever happened to Balak after the Bil'am affair? Bil'am is referred to often as Bil'am HaRasha' (the wicked), and he is blamed for the entire encounter as well as the Ba'al Pe'or incident. But ...
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Why was Kozbi not an eshes yefas toar?

Why was Kozbi bas Tzur not considered an eshes yefas toar (a non-Jewish woman who is taken captive during wartime and is permitted to her captor) who would then be permitted to Zimri? This question ...
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Did Bilaam have free will?

By God preventing Bilaam from cursing the Jews, was that not an impingement of Bilaams free will?
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Parasha named after Balak?

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?
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What is Zimri's sin?

Note: This is Zimri that was speared by Phinehas for sleeping with a foreigner. Wikipedia says that he committed idolatry. However, the Bible only mentions that he slept with a foreign woman. Nothing ...