When you need an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses, your mother isn't the right person with whom to speak. I recently stumbled upon a wise quote: "Your enemies have vital information which your friends are withholding from you." Withholding because they are reluctant to hurt you by dwelling on your flaws, or simply because the warm relationship you share makes them blind to your faults.

This is what makes Balaam's prophecies so unique. The words of scores of prophets and prophetesses are recorded in the books of the Scriptures. To a certain extent, their divinely inspired words are colored by their "insiders" perspective; their deep love and care for their brethren. Balaam, on the other hand, was a vicious anti-Semite whose greatest wish was to bring about the demise of our nation. Let us examine the words of the one who futilely toiled to pinpoint our weak point, who in vain sought to uncover our area of vulnerability.

Let us examine the words of the one who in vain sought to uncover our area of vulnerability.The stunned Moabite princes listened in shock as the soothsayer who was retained to curse the Jews thus began his series of soliloquies: "How shall I curse whom G‑d has not cursed? How can I invoke wrath anger when G‑d isn't angry?"

Why was this nation immune from G‑d's curses and wrath? Balaam continues:

"Because from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and does not reckon with the nations."

As is the nature of poetic prose, these words are (also) allegoric. Our sages tell us that "mountain peaks" are an allusion to our Patriarchs, and the hills refer to our Matriarchs.

The secret of our nation's survival; our ability to withstand the curses, wrath and schemes of the Balaam's of the generations, is our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Jewish fathers and mothers who instill within their children the sense that they are a nation whose destiny is to dwell alone. Parents who teach their children that "a nation who dwells alone" is not a curse; it's not a blight which we must try to overcome. It is a blessing.