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Dvar Balak

Dearest Reader,

Welcome to the concise, relevant Weekly Dvar. I work hard to keep things fresh, especially for those that have been subscribed for 10 years or longer. So it's important for me to get your feedback. If you like it, refer a friend. If you have comments or suggestions, write back. Don't be shy. Here's a new Dvar this week. I hope you enjoy...

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After a whole ordeal trying to curse the Jews, Bilam finally ends up blessing the Jews instead. So what does a person whose power lies in his word utter, after so much suspense? He says "How good are your tents, O Yaakov, your dwelling places, Israel" (24:5). Is it Yaakov or Israel? Is it the tents or the dwelling places (assuming they're different) that are good? It's a pretty ambiguous for someone presumably articulate.

To understand this, we need to analyze the context of the three blessings he imparted in the following Pessukim (verses): 1) You should stay near water (reference to Torah), 2) G-d will help you crush your oppressors, and 3) Those that bless you will be blessed, and those that curse you will be cursed. It seems that there is a natural progression throughout these blessings: If we 1) stay close to the Torah, 2) G-d will help us defeat our enemies, and 3)we will be blessed upon blessings. That's why the blessings start with the statement that it's all because of our homes (tents), that leads to our communities (dwellings), from Yaakov as an individual to Israel as a nation. If we introduce the Torah in our own controlled-environment homes, it will not only help ourselves and our communities, and lead to the many blessings that follow!

Quotation of the Week (thanks to Marjie):
"Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere." - Dorothy Galyean

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Last Updated: Friday, July 15, 2005