Copy Right 2022
Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
Bilaam And The Messiah-1/
Yeshivah of Bnei Noah’s Curriculum
The curriculum in the BN Yeshivah – according to the late Lubavitz Rabbi – should include the study of Noah’s Seven Commandments, plus the prophecy of Bilaam (from the Book of Numbers.)
The Seven commandments can be studied – as we’ve done – directly from the Book of Genesis, that leads the reader from one Commandment of Adam to the next. As the students encounter each Commandment, they can use it tas an opportunity to study the Commandment in much more depth and details than we’ve done in our classes.
Learning about IDOLATRY
For instance, as the Yeshiva’s students read Genesis chapter One, they would have the opportunity to discuss in depth the relation between Science and the Torah, the Six Days of CREATION compared to the Evolution (as told by the History Chanell report on the History of Earth, for instance) realizing how miraculous that chapter is. It describes the history of Earth so accurately, including the many catastrophes!
The student will also learn how Adam was made to withstand the challenge of IDOLATRY. ELKM consulted all the entities mentioned in Chapter One and built Adam like a modern CEO of a company making a humanoid. He consulted the Six Days and made Adam’s body accordingly – from material created on each Day. This is why the human embryo passes in the uterus through the entire evolution. ELKM then consulted His Wisdom and planted it in our mind, consulted His Self to make our self, consulted Passions and Desires to make our heart and so on. Each consultation would become a potential idol, since ELKM spoke with it in plural, saying Let Us Make Adam. He then planted in Adam a goal – to invite the Merciful YHVH into his heart thereby becoming Very Good. Only then Adam would merit entering the Eternal Sabbath.
Those concepts need digestion and comprehension, which can be reached by the Yeshiva students only after reading the material repeatedly along with the proper references in the Talmud and Commentaries.
Learning About ADULTERY and Marriage
Then, as the students of the Yeshiva encounter ADULTERY in the story of the Garden of Eden, they will have the opportunity to learn in much more details and depth about it than we’ve done in our course. They will discuss the concept and the sanctification of Marriage, ADULTERY as well as other forbidden sexual relationship. From the story of Eden the students will learn about Sin, the awareness of YHVH, the shame of sin, YHVH’s holiness and the power of Repentance and Forgiveness.
Learning About BLOODSHED
Then, as the students of the Yeshiva of BN move on to learn about Cain and Abel and Noah’s generations and their BLOODSHED, they will have the opportunity to study in depth the background for that deterioration. They will learn how Mankind split along the Attributes – Enosh’s fraction worshipping the Merciful YHVH, the Children of ELKM (Cain’s descendants) worshipping ELKM. Those two rival fractions of Mankind started with piety, but soon they sledded downwards into bitter fighting and BLOODSHED that brought upon them the Flood. The Student will have a chance at that point to discuss and learn about the possible causes of BLOODSHED and MURDER in the world – realizing that RELIGIOUS FIGHTING has been , so far, the foremost frequent cause of it, starting with Cain and Abel themselves. And in our days, when humanity faces again the same split along the Attributes – should we learn from Noah’s generation’s fate?
At the same time, the students will learn about the solution or remedy for our “bloodthirsty, animalistic heart” – presented in Noah’s Rainbow Covenant.
Issues like Suicide, Abortion, End of Life decisions, Merciful Killing as well as the execution of murderers by human court – all that will be discussed by the students at length, using for references many passages in the Talmud. The students will compare those Torah’s principles with their own country’s laws.
This way the students will appreciate better the importance and purpose of Noah’s Seventh Commandment, that Noah added to tame the human heart.
Learning About THEFT
And when the students move on to study Abraham and his struggle against THEFT, especially ORGANIZED THEFT, against building Empires and imposing Slavery, they will have the opportunity to go in depth into the concept of Rightful Ownership, honest Trading and Earned Income, the notion of what constitute unlawful cheating and so on – which constitutes a major part of the Talmud. At that point the students will learn in depth the meaning of G-d’s new Name, My Master, AaDoNai, that Abraham gave to G-d as well as the concepts of “Blessing G-d” for the food we eat and for everything we use for our livelihood, as well as the meaning and purpose oof Circumcision, Abraham’s Eighth Commandment.
Learning JUSTICE and CIVIL ORDER
The same is true when the Yeshivah’s students move on to study Jacob and his life-long struggle for JUSTICE, CIVIL RIGHTS and CIVIL ORDER. The students will use this as an opportunity to learn in depth the notion tof righteous and compassionate government, human dignity and human rights, the moral foundation of the judiciary system as well as the function of the executive branch. For that they can use another major segment of the Talmud, as well as their own country civil laws and constitution.
Learning About BLASPHEMY
And as the students move on to the next and last Adam’s Commandment, namely BLASPHEMY, they will go in depth into the birth of Israel as a society that sanctifies
G-d’s Name among the nations as Jacob had pledged in the Ladder Dream.
When he returns home to his father’s land, he had vowed, he and his descendants would build a society that incorporates the values of the Shechinah into the Laws of the Land. A society where he and his children would build a Temple for the Shechinah to Dwell, where people from all over the world would come to offer their sacrifices, their donations and their prayers. Such a community would serve as a model for all the other Nations to follow, so that all Mankind would recognize and cherish YHVH’s’ Name as the One and Only G-d.
At that point, as the students study Joseph’s story, they will have the opportunity to learn in depth the concept of G-d’s KINGSHIP as the Mover of History behind the scene, executing His Will without interfering with our Free Will.
And as the student reach the final stage of Jacob’s life they will encounter the concept of a Messiah, as the leader of Israel in the historical journey to the End of Days. It would be an opportunity to study about the concept of the Messiah according to Moses’ Five Books.
G-d’s KINGSHIP and the Messiah’s Kingship
Let’s recall that as Jacob reached his final days, he assembled his twelves
sons to his deathbed to inform them what would happen to them till the “End of Days.”
In Jacob’s mind, the advent of Israel was an turning point in Man’s history.
Israel would lead humanity to become Very Good. But Israel too would need a leader, a Messiah, who would marshal the people of Israel behind him.
Jacob said to his sons – I know, my children, that one day you’ll return from Egypt to the Land of Israel and build there a community that would implement my pledge, serving as a model and a leader for other Nations to follow. Your task is to Glorify YHVH’s Name in the eyes of all other Nations, so that they too would accept YHVH and Her values into their hearts and their laws.
But as he was about to select a leader from among his twelve sons, a Messiah, his vision got suddenly blurred. In panic, he turned to his sons and asked: is there anyone among you who does not believe in my vision? Is anyone here who does not believe in G-d’s KINGSHIP and His Power to move History according to His Goal?
His sons then responded in one voice –
“Shema Israel, Hear Israel, our father Israel,
YHVH is our ELKM, YHVH is One”
They meant – according to Rashi – YHVH is now our King, but we believe that one day YHVH will be recognize by all Mankind as the One and Only KING. The emphasize here is on Kingship, on the power of G-d to move and control human history.
They said – G-d will support us in our effort to change Mankind so that we will all be deemed Very Good at the End of Days.
Hearing them, Jacob relaxed and the prophetic power returned to him.
Turning to the head of his bedrest he bowed to the Shechinah and said:
“Blessed is the Glory (Honor) of
His Kingship Forever and Ever.”
We still say those words when we recite the Shema twice daily
Only now, after recognizing G-d as the ’King of Israel Who moves History’
Jacob turned to his sons to select a king among them – a human leader who would glorify Israel’s name among the nations, thereby glorifying G-d’s Name in the world.
Jacob had at that point two choices –
A Messiah the Son of Joseph,
And a Messiah the Son of Judah.
The first one would take care of the natural needs and the survival of Israel itself, like Joseph who provided for his family,
The other- the Son of Judah, would glorify Israel’s Name among the Nations.
The Son of Joseph may arrive even in exile, like Joseph,
but the Son of Judah would arise in Israel after they have settled in the Land of Israel.
Hence Israel has to return to the Holy Land in order to the Messiah the Son of Judah to come. The Glory of Israel among the nations can be real only when Israel sits peacefully in the Land of Israel.
Moving to Bilaam
This is where the Book of Genesis ends, and the story of Bilaam start.
In the Book of Numbers, at the crucial point when Israel was about to cross the Jordan River and enter the Holy Land, headed by Joshua,
King Balak of Moab arose to challenge their very existence in the eyes of G-d, claiming they were unqualified to be there at all.
The Rabbis said that his challenge was so effective, that Moses incorporated it in his five Books.
King Balak of Moab was smart and knowledgeable- the Rabbis said. He knew that Israel was there to enter the holy Land, claiming it in the name of the Patriarchs, and he resented it. What right do they have to be in his neighborhood? After all, wasn’t Moab a direct descendant from Abraham’s nephew, Lot? Wasn’t Moab more qualified to represent Abraham, than these newcomers? So Adamant was the King in his hate, that he resolved to do everything in his power to stop Israel from entering the Holy Land.
Yes, a classical antisemitic posture that arises whenever Israel attempts to enter the Holy Land.
The story of Balak begins as Israel was parking on the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho, quite close to Moab’s borders.
“And Balak the Son of Ztipor saw all that Israel has done to the Emorite
And Moab was sore afraid of the people because they were many.
And Moab was seized with disgust (Va-Y-ikatz) from the Children of Israel.
And Moab said to the elders of Mydian,
now shall that company lick up all that are around us
as the ox licks up the grass of the fields.
And Balak was the king of Moab at that time.” (Numbers 22:1-4)
What prompted King Balak to act?
The Torah says that he “saw” something. What did he see?
Tradition says he saw in his dream a vision that bewildered him, night after night.
In his dream he saw his daughter sitting on a throne, while all Israel prostrate before her.
Consulting his wise men, they told him that Heavens was informing him how to overcome Israel – put your daughter in charge over your army and she will defeat them and rule over them.
The Midyanites, whom he consulted too, told him that this couldn’t be the solution to his dream. They knew Moses first hand and they knew well that no army could overcome Moses by the sword. Have you not seen what he did to the mighty Sichon and Og of the north? Have you not heard what he did to Pharaoh? – But you may use Moses’ own power- the power of the word- to overcome him.
“I am not a person with words,” Balak said in despair.
“So you need a good advocate, a lawyer who would present your case to the Heavenly Court” – the Midyanites said,
“Is there such a good lawyer?” King Balak asked.
“There is a prophet called Bilaam, who knows very well the ways of the Heavenly Court. Send for him and he will help you.”
King Balak then sent for the prophet Bilaam “Petorah” – which can be the name of his place. But Petorah in Hebrew also means “Please Solve for Me My Dream.”
Beside the dream, the King also added three accusations against Israel, which would become the classical antisemitic charges against Israel till nowadays:
Balak’s Three Classical Accusations
Those accusations are:
Hence he (Balak) sent messengers to Bilaam the Son of Beor, to Petor,
which is by the River the land of Amo, to call him, saying
- “Behold there is a nameless company (aam) coming out of Egypt.
2. “Behold, they cover the eye of the Earth, and they sit against me.” (22: 5)
3. “They will lick up our entire surrounding as a wild oxen licks
up the greenery of the fields…” 22:4)
“Come now therefore, I pray thee, and curse me this people,
for they are too mighty for me.
For I know, that he whom you bless is blessed
and he whom you curse is cursed.” (22:6)
The Rabbis insisted that King Balak praises of Bilaam was right. Regardless whether or not he was a crook, a magician, at the time of the story he became “a great prophet like Moses!” Hence, we should pay attention to every word he would say.
King Balak’s Three Accusations are:
- These people claim to be Israel, but in fact they are a nameless company – aam, a group of former Egyptian slaves who were subdued for hundreds of years. Surely their women were sexually abused by their Egyptian masters. Hence, they can’t be what they claim – the offspring of the Patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, they have no right to be here and enter the Holy Land that was promised to the Patriarchs
2: Those people out there cover the eyes of the Earth. The simple meaning is that they are numerous. But the Rabbis interpreted this as a charge that these people have no real faith in G-d. Had they not sinned with the Golden Calf, enraging G-d? Had they not made Moses’ life miserable as they wondered in the desert, constantly complaining? Their faith in G-d is false. They have no right to enter the Holy Land and conquer it in the Name of G-d!
3 : Those nameless, faithless company out there consists of a disorganized mob, uncivilized and lawless like oxen of the field They are not qualified to be reconned among the civilized Nations. Hence, they have no right to be here, how much less to invade other people’s land and take it over by force.
As it turns out, these three accusations against Israel are still heard in our days.
Many have argued – against Zionism – that the Jewish people we see today, is not the genuine ancient Hebrew. Have not the Jews been living in Exile for two thousand years? Have not their women often been molested and raped many times over by different masters and conquerors? Are not the Jews of today descendants of the Cuzarian Tatars? Just look at them! The Yemenite Jew is completely different in look and culture than the Ashkenzi Jew of Europe.
And secondly: how can todays’ Jews claim ownership of the Holy Land, in the name of the Bible, when they have lost the Land due to their misbehavior? Have not G-d thrown them away because of their rebellious character? Are not modern Israel a secular state, run by disbelievers? So how can they claim ownership of the Holy Land in the name of the Bible?
And thirdly – The Jews of today do not constitute a nation. Are they not dispersed all over the world, speaking different languages and following different cultures ? Stalin, for instance, refused to write in the Russian passport the name ‘Jewish’ as nationality. The Jews, he claimed, have no land, no common language and no flag.
Those three accusations against Israel – that they are not the genuine descendants of the patriarchs, that their faith is false,that they do not present one nation – was first raised by King Balak as an attempt to stop them from entering the Holy Land.
The King also said to the prophet: Come, curse them in the Eyes of YHVH. Find a major blemish in them so that even G-d would reject them and stop them from entering the Holy Land.
The prophet Bilaam, himself a Noahide, agreed to help the Moabite King as an advocate, expecting a great monetary compensation. Yet he set up a condition – he would curse Israel only if YHVH would agree.
He knew well that YHVH loves Israel, but he relied on his own power of the words to detect a blemish in Israel and magnify it so much, that YHVH would allow him to curse Israel. Once his finds such a blemish, he would be able to stop Israel from entering the Holy Land .