This week’s Torah reading focuses on the blessings given the Jewish people by the gentile prophet Bilaam. Balak, the king of Moab, feared that the Jews would attack him and his people on their way to Eretz Yisrael, and so he hired Bilaam, a gentile prophet to curse the Jews. Although Bilaam sought to do Balak’s bidding, whenever he prepared to deliver curses, G‑d put blessings in his mouth and he was forced to utter them. So powerful are his blessings that they are recorded in the Torah for eternity and some have taken their place in our prayers.

Among Bilaam’s prophecies is the only explicit allusion to Mashiach in the Torah: “A star shall shoot forth from Jacob.” This allusion is chosen, because Mashiach’s coming will introduce new light into our existence, brightening our horizons.

Other sources in our Torah heritage explain that the star to which the verse refers is an analogy for every individual Jew. Every person is a source of positive energy, radiating light.

The Chassidic tradition fuses the two sources together, explaining that every person is a star, because every person contains a spark of Mashiach within his soul.

Our spiritual personalities possess manifold dimensions. For like an onion has folds, there are different dimensions of our being. At the core of them all lies our spark of Mashiach.

There is an element of ourselves that maintains the material well-being of our bodies and is concerned with eating, sleeping, and other physical activities.

And we have feelings and centers of thought. These too are multifaceted, for our personal spiritual cosmos is at least as varied as the human personality.

The source for these different frames of reference is G‑d, as Maimonides writes: “Out of the truth of His Being came into being all forms of existence.”

There is, however, in our souls - and in all existence - an element that reflects “the truth of His Being” itself, that is at one with G‑d. This is our personal star.

And this is our spark of Mashiach. For the coming of Mashiach will initiate an era when the G‑dliness which is at the core of every being will come to the surface. This will not nullify the existence of any entity; instead it will allow every entity to redefine itself, and allow its true spiritual nature to surface.