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G-d Loves Us More Than We Realize

Exploring Rashi’s commentary on Balaam’s blessing

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G-d Loves Us More Than We Realize: Exploring Rashi’s commentary on Balaam’s blessing

When Balaam, the greatest gentile prophet attempts to curse the Jewish nation, G-d inspires him to bless us instead. Rashi identifies a nuance in the wording he uses, which illustrates just how deeply G-d cares for His chosen people.
Balaam's Curses turn to Blessings, Divination, Rashi, Balak

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Majo February 15, 2019

Hashem surely loves you Israel... Reply

shnarkle Florida June 27, 2018

this word "divination"? I'm not familiar with Hebrew or Aramaic, but I heard him say something that sounded like "nachash" which he referred to as "divination". Did I hear that correctly? The reason I ask is that it sounds like the same word for the serpent in the garden of Eden; the "naXash of brass Moses placed on a pole" etc.. I'm trying to figure out if this is the same word or a word that just sounds like it, or if they have the same root somewhere. If this is the case, then is the knowledge Adam and Eve were forbidden from knowing some kind of knowledge derived from divination? Is there a connection between these two words? I'm wondering if there is because it seems like they're related in that the command to Adam is dealing with the future, and divination is as well. Reply

Ari Shishler South Africa June 29, 2018
in response to shnarkle:

Re: this word "divination"? Hi Shnarkle,

You've raised a good point. Nachmanides notes that divination (which the Torah here refers to as "nachash") could potentially harm a person, as a snake can. So, there is a link between divination and the word snake.

However, the knowledge that became available through the Tree of Knowledge was not divination, rather personal awareness of evil (that's why the tree is called the Tree of Knowledge of good AND evil). Prior to eating from the tree, Adam and Eve only had personal, intimate knowledge of good. Evil was a theoretical concept. Once they ate from the tree, evil became part of their conscious reality. Reply

shnarkle Florida June 29, 2018
in response to Ari Shishler:

the origin of the word divination? Hi Ari, thank you for your reply. I see that my question wasn't as clear as it should have been. I can see that the knowledge is derived from the Tree itself, but just as Israel doesn't rely on nachash(divination), so too Adam and Eve shouldn't have relied upon the information they derived from the nachash. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that a nachash is a word that originally meant a "burning one" or "shining one" and a serpent is also referred this way because of the burn of its bite. There seems a strong connection between this subtle shining one(nashash) and the information derived from divination(nachash). I wasn't aware it also meant divination. When I heard you say it, I was immediately reminded of the information derived from the nachash which coincidently deals with the future. I would only add to your second paragraph that it also seems the conscious reality of God became a theoretical concept to Adam and Eve. Reply

Jacquelyn Contreras Portland July 16, 2019
in response to shnarkle:

Deep Reply

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