© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Bilaam and the Messiah-2/The Speaking She-Donkey and her Three Revelations The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Holy Spark that has turned into a huge Holy Flame
The Holy Spark that has turned into a huge Holy Flame
1: SATAN, the Angel of MERCY?
“And Bilaam woke up in the morning and saddled his female donkey,
and he went with the princes of Moab.
Then ELoKiM’s anger enkindled because he went.” (Numbers 22: 21-22)
Then the Angel of YHVH stood in the way
As a SATAN against him
And he was riding on his She Donkey and his two servants with him
And the She-Donkey saw the (1) Angel of YHVH standing on the way
and His sword drawn in his hand….”
The verse is specific: It was the ‘Angel of YHVH” who stood “as a SATAN” in front of the She Donkey. Who was that Angel? Rashi says: “It was an Angel of MERCY.” .
If so, why it is also called SATAN?
The answer is simple to those who know Hebrew. The word “satan” In Hebrew, comes from sitna, hatred. Satan means in Hebrew “an adversary.”
Hence the Angel of YHVH was Bilaam’s adversary, attempting to hold him back from going forward and curse Israel. This SATAN was a good Angel, probably with white wings and a cherub’s face. It was not Demon.
So never mix the Hebrew Satan with the EUROPEAN IMGIANTION OF IIT AS THE DEVIL. In Moses’ Torah, there is no room for an independent, anti- God power depicted in REVELATION. The Hebrew Satan is an Angel appointed as our prosecutor in the Heavenly Court. It speaks only the truth about us.
Now what did the She-Donkey see?
3: Sending Bilaam three messages through the She-Donkey
The “Angel of YHVH” addressed Bilaam through his She-Donkey. What a humiliation!
If Blaam had planned to say out words of ELKM, yet curse Israel in his heart,
Now came the Angel of YHVH, who dwells in our heart, and set up a limitation to what Bilaam could think IN HIS HEART.
The Angel did that by appearing to the She Donley three times.
Inferring that Bilaam would have three revelations in Moab,
Addressing King Balak’s three accusations about Israel
(1) About their origin
(2) About their faith
(3) About their society.
The Angel set up limitation to what Bilaam could do in his heart, as follows:
The Donkey’s first Revelation
“And the (1) Angel of YHVH stood in the way as a Satan against him.
And the She-Donkey saw the (2) Angel of YHVH standing in the way,
and his sword drawn in his hand. And the She-Donkey turned aside out of the way
and went into the field.
In the first revelation, the Angel gave the Donkey a leeway to escape into the field to the right or to the left.
By this, the Angel informed Bilaam that in his first revelation in Moab, regarding Israel’s origin, he too would be given a leeway. Like the Donkey, he would have to SAY only praising words that YHVH would put in his mouth. Yet, in his heart, he would be given much freedom to search and find a blemish in Israel’s origin and pierce their names in YHVH eyes.
The She Donkey’s second revelation
“And Bilaam smote the she-ass to turn her into the way, but the (3) Angel of YHVH
stood in the path of the vineyard a wall being on this side, and a wall being on that side.
And when the She-Donkey saw the (4) Angel of YHVH she thrust herself to the wall,
and crushed Bilaam’s foot against the wall and he struck her again.
In this second revelation, addressing Israel’s faith, the Angel blocked the Donkey from going to the right or left, leaving her only one choice: mve forward. Even then, the Donkey crushed Bilaam’s legs into the side walls.
By this, the Angel informed Bilaam that he too would be given a second chance to examine Israel, this time focusing on their faith. Like the Donkey, he would have to SAY only praising words to Israel. Yet in his heart he would be given a leeway to exercise his Free Will. But this time, his freedom to curse Israel would be more limited in comparison to his first revelation. Moreover, like the Donkey crushing his legs against the wall, this time he would pay a price for his attempt, a physical damage.
The Donkey’s third revelation
“And the (5) Angel of YHVH went farther and stood in a narrow place
where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
And when the She Donkey saw the (6) Angel of YHVH
she lay down under Bilaam. And Bilaam’s anger burned, and he struck the ass with a staff.
In this third revelation, the She Donkey had no leeway to go anywhere, but to crouch on the ground.
The Angel informed Bilaam that if he would insist in pursuing his goal, he would be given a third chance and last to examine Israel’s society and curse them. Like the Donkey, he would SAY whatever YHVH would place in his mouth, but in his heart, he might still search for a blemish in them. Yet, the Angel hinted, the given leeway would be severely restricted this time. Like the Donkey, he would have no Free Choice. His Lips and his heart should concur.
Note that the phrase “Angel of YHVH” is mentioned 10 times; not Incidentally. The Angel invoked the 10 Commandments, defending Israel.
Would Bilaam and Balak be able to pierce Israel’s defense in YHVH eyes?
5: They breach Noah’s covenant!
You know the story. Charged by his new insight, the prophet dove ahead and met King Balak at the city of Kiyat Huztot, located at the northern borders of Moab.
As it is usual in the Torah, the city’s name carries a message. “Kiyrat Hutzot” means “a city of multitude neighborhoods.” There the prophet adapted the king’s posture, not only for hi money. He himself was overcome by hatred to Israel. In his enthusiasm, the prophet added new arguments against Israel.
The first one is hinted by the name of the border city. Here the prophet invoked the memory of the ancient treaty between the seventy families of Noah’s nations. That treaty forbade any nation to invade another nation’s borders ((Rashi.) The prophet said: this company has no place here. They are about to invade the Land of Canaan and steal their land!
Moreover, the prophet told the Moabite King:
Moab origin is definitely stems from Abraham. No one argues that Moab is the descendant of Lot from his daughter. Whereas the origin of this company across your border is in doubt! You, Moab, is better suited to serve as a leader of the Noahide Nations!
Moab’ faith, can follow Noah, at least for now. Offer YHVH seven oxen on seven altars, adapt the Seven Commandments, and abandon IDOLATRY at least now. This would raise Moab’s esteem in the eyes of YHVH, better than this company. Moab would be a better candidate to lead Noah’s seventy Nations, than anyone else!
Moab society had been more civilized than theirs. Moab had never invaded other nations borders. Hence, again, Moab is better suited to lead the civilized world!
The rabbis pointed out that these arguments were so effective, that the Heavenly Court shattered. Never before or afterwards there was such a threat to Israel’s hegemony among the Seventy Families of Noahide Nations!