ב"ה

Torah Reading for Balak

Parshat Balak
Shabbat, 14 Tammuz, 5784
20 July, 2024
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Complete: (Numbers 22:2 - 25:9; Micah 5:6 - 6:8)
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First Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 22

2Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.   בוַיַּ֥רְא בָּלָ֖ק בֶּן־צִפּ֑וֹר אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֥ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לָֽאֱמֹרִֽי:
Balak… saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites: He said, “These two kings whom we relied on could not resist them; we certainly cannot.” Consequently, “Moab became terrified.” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 2, Num. Rabbah 20:2]   וַיַּרְא בָּלָק בֶּן־צִפּוֹר אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה יִשְׂרָאֵל לָֽאֱמֹרִֽי: אָמַר, אֵלּוּ שְׁנֵי מְלָכִים שֶׁהָיִינוּ בְטוּחִים עֲלֵיהֶם לֹא עָמְדוּ בִּפְנֵיהֶם, אָנוּ עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה, לְפִיכָךְ "וַיָּגָר מוֹאָב" (תנחומא):
3Moab became terrified of the people, for they were numerous, and Moab became disgusted because of the children of Israel.   גוַיָּ֨גָר מוֹאָ֜ב מִפְּנֵ֥י הָעָ֛ם מְאֹ֖ד כִּ֣י רַב־ה֑וּא וַיָּ֣קָץ מוֹאָ֔ב מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
[Moab] became terrified: [Heb. וַיָּגָר is] a term denoting dread, as in, “Fear (גּוּרוּ) for yourselves” (Job 19:29). - [Machbereth Menachem p. 59, third def.]   וַיָּגָר: לְשׁוֹן מוֹרָא, כְּמוֹ "גּוּרוּ לָכֶם" (איוב י"ט):
Moab became disgusted: They became disgusted with their own lives, as in “I am disgusted (קַצְתִּי) with my life” (Gen. 27:46). This is an abbreviated verse.   וַיָּקָץ מוֹאָב: קָצוּ בְחַיֵּיהֶם:
4Moab said to the elders of Midian, "Now this assembly will eat up everything around us, as the ox eats up the greens of the field. Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.   דוַיֹּ֨אמֶר מוֹאָ֜ב אֶל־זִקְנֵ֣י מִדְיָ֗ן עַתָּ֞ה יְלַֽחֲכ֤וּ הַקָּהָל֙ אֶת־כָּל־סְבִ֣יבֹתֵ֔ינוּ כִּלְחֹ֣ךְ הַשּׁ֔וֹר אֵ֖ת יֶ֣רֶק הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה וּבָלָ֧ק בֶּן־צִפּ֛וֹר מֶ֥לֶךְ לְמוֹאָ֖ב בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִֽוא:
to the elders of Midian: But did they not always hate each other, as it says, “who defeated Midian in the field of Moab” (Gen. 36:35), when Midian came against Moab in battle? However, because of their mutual fear of Israel they made peace with each other. And what did Moab see to take counsel with Midian? Since they saw that Israel was supernaturally victorious [in their battles], they said, “The leader of these [people] was raised in Midian. Let us ask them what his character is.” They told them, “His strength is solely in his mouth.” They said, “We too will come against them with a man whose strength is in his mouth.” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 3, Num. Rabbah 20:4]   אֶל־זִקְנֵי מִדְיָן: וַהֲלֹא מֵעוֹלָם הָיוּ שׂוֹנְאִים זֶה אֶת זֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "הַמַּכֶּה אֶת מִדְיָן בִּשְׂדֵה מוֹאָב" (בראשית ל"ו), שֶׁבָּאוּ מִדְיָן עַל מוֹאָב לַמִּלְחָמָה? אֶלָּא מִיִּרְאָתָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל עָשׂוּ שָׁלוֹם בֵּינֵיהֶם; וּמָה רָאָה מוֹאָב לִטֹּל עֵצָה מִמִּדְיָן? כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל נוֹצְחִים שֶׁלֹּא כְמִנְהַג הָעוֹלָם, אָמְרוּ מַנְהִיגָם שֶׁל אֵלּוּ בְּמִדְיָן נִתְגַּדֵּל, נִשְׁאַל מֵהֶם מַה מִּדָּתוֹ, אָמְרוּ לָהֶם אֵין כֹּחוֹ אֶלָּא בְּפִיו, אָמְרוּ, אַף אָנוּ נָבֹא עֲלֵיהֶם בְּאָדָם שֶׁכֹּחוֹ בְּפִיו (תנחומא):
as the ox eats up: Whatever the ox has eaten up no longer contains blessing [because the ox uproots the plants it eats (Da’ath Zekenim)]. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 3, Num. Rabbah 20:4]   כִּלְחֹךְ הַשּׁוֹר: כָּל מַה שֶּׁהַשּׁוֹר מְלַחֵךְ אֵין בּוֹ בְרָכָה (שם):
at that time: He was not entitled to the monarchy. He was one of the Midianite nobles [according to some: of the nobles of Sihon (Josh. 13:21)], and when Sihon died, they appointed him over them on a temporary basis. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:4]   בָּעֵת הַהִֽוא: לֹא הָיָה רָאוּי לְמַלְכוּת, מִנְּסִיכֵי מִדְיָן הָיָה, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁמֵּת סִיחוֹן מִנּוּהוּ עֲלֵיהֶם לְצֹרֶךְ שָׁעָה (שם):
5He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of his people, to call for him, saying, "A people has come out of Egypt, and behold, they have covered the "eye" of the land, and they are stationed opposite me.   הוַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח מַלְאָכִ֜ים אֶל־בִּלְעָ֣ם בֶּן־בְּע֗וֹר פְּת֠וֹרָה אֲשֶׁ֧ר עַל־הַנָּהָ֛ר אֶ֥רֶץ בְּנֵֽי־עַמּ֖וֹ לִקְרֹא־ל֑וֹ לֵאמֹ֗ר הִ֠נֵּ֠ה עַ֣ם יָצָ֤א מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם֙ הִנֵּ֤ה כִסָּה֙ אֶת־עֵ֣ין הָאָ֔רֶץ וְה֥וּא ישֵׁ֖ב מִמֻּלִֽי:
to Pethor: Heb. פְּתוֹרָה, like this money changer, to whom everyone rushes coins, so did all the kings rush their letters to him [asking him for advice]. [In Aramaic, פְּתוֹרָא means table, denoting the counter over which currency transactions take place. This is synonymous with the Hebrew שֻׁלְחָן, table.Thus, a money changer is שֻלְחָנִי]. According to the simple meaning of the verse, it [Pethor] is a place-name. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   פְּתוֹרָה: כְּשֻׁלְחָנִי זֶה שֶׁהַכֹּל מְרִיצִין לוֹ מָעוֹת, כָּךְ כָּל הַמְּלָכִים מְרִיצִין לוֹ אִגְּרוֹתֵיהֶם, וּלְפִי פְשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא כָּךְ שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם (שם):
the land of his people: [I.e.,] Balak’s [people]. He came from there. This one [Balaam] prophesied, telling him, “You are destined to rule.” If you ask, “Why did God bestow His Shechinah on a wicked gentile?” [The answer is] so the nations should not have an excuse to say, “Had we had prophets we would have repented.” So He assigned them prophets, but they breached the [morally] accepted barrier, for at first they had refrained from immorality, but he [Balaam] advised them to offer themselves freely for prostitution. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 1, Num. Rabbah 20:1]   אֶרֶץ בְּנֵֽי־עַמּוֹ: שֶׁל בָּלָק, מִשָּׁם הָיָה, וְזֶה הָיָה מִתְנַבֵּא וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ, עָתִיד אַתָּה לִמְלֹךְ; וְאִם תֹּאמַר מִפְּנֵי מָה הִשְׁרָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁכִינָתוֹ עַל גּוֹי רָשָׁע? כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה פִתְחוֹן פֶּה לָאֻמּוֹת לוֹמַר, אִלּו הָיוּ לָנוּ נְבִיאִים, חָזַרְנוּ לְמוּטָב, הֶעֱמִיד לָהֶם נְבִיאִים וְהֵם פָּרְצוּ גֶדֶר הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁבַּתְּחִלָּה הָיוּ גְדוּרִים בַּעֲרָיוֹת, וְזֶה נָתַן לָהֶם עֵצָה לְהַפְקִיר עַצְמָן לִזְנוּת:
to call for him: This invitation was for him, [i.e.,] for his benefit, for he promised him a large sum of money. - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   לִקְרֹא־לוֹ: הַקְּרִיאָה הָיְתָה שֶׁלּוֹ וְלַהֲנָאָתוֹ, שֶׁהָיָה פוֹסֵק לוֹ מָמוֹן הַרְבֵּה:
A people has come out of Egypt: And should you ask,“How does it harm you?”   עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם: וְאִם תֹּאמַר מַה מַּזִּיקְךָ?
“behold, they have covered the ‘eye’ of the land”: Sihon and Og, who were our guardians-they attacked them and killed them. - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   הִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת־עֵין הָאָרֶץ: סִיחוֹן וְעוֹג שֶׁהָיוּ שׁוֹמְרִים אוֹתָנוּ עָמְדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וַהֲרָגוּם:
and they are stationed opposite me: Heb. מִמֻּלִי. It [the word מִמֻּלִי] is spelled defectively [lacking a 'vav’]; they are close by, ready to cut me down, as in “for I will cut them down (אֲמִילֵם)” (Ps. 118:10). - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   וְהוּא ישֵׁב מִמֻּלִֽי: חָסֵר כְּתִיב, קְרוֹבִים הֵם לְהַכְרִיתֵנִי כְּמוֹ (תהילים קי"ח) כִּי אֲמִילַם (תנחומא):
6So now, please come and curse this people for me, for they are too powerful for me. Perhaps I will be able to wage war against them and drive them out of the land, for I know that whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is cursed."   ווְעַתָּה֩ לְכָה־נָּ֨א אָֽרָה־לִּ֜י אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֗ה כִּֽי־עָצ֥וּם הוּא֙ מִמֶּ֔נִּי אוּלַ֤י אוּכַל֙ נַכֶּה־בּ֔וֹ וַֽאֲגָֽרְשֶׁ֖נּוּ מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ כִּ֣י יָדַ֗עְתִּי אֵ֤ת אֲשֶׁר־תְּבָרֵךְ֙ מְבֹרָ֔ךְ וַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר תָּאֹ֖ר יוּאָֽר:
Perhaps I will be able to wage war against them: Heb. נַכֶּה. I with my nation will wage war against them [hence the first person plural form of נַכֶּה]. Another interpretation: It נַכֶּה is a mishnaic term, as in, “he deducts (מְנַכֶּה) from the price for him” (B.M. 105b) [so the meaning here is,] to diminish them somewhat. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   נַכֶּה־בּוֹ: אֲנִי וְעַמִּי נַכֶּה בָהֶם. דָּבָר אַחֵר — לְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה הוּא (ב"מ ק"ה), מְנַכֶּה לוֹ מִן הַדָּמִים — לְחַסֵּר מֵהֶם מְעַט (תנחומא):
for I know: through the war of Sihon [against Moab] you helped him defeat Moab. - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 20:7]   כִּֽי־יָדַעְתִּי וגו': עַל יְדֵי מִלְחֶמֶת סִיחוֹן שֶׁעֲזַרְתּוֹ לְהַכּוֹת אֶת מוֹאָב:
7So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian went, with magic charms in their hands, and they came to Balaam and conveyed Balak's message to him.   זוַיֵּ֨לְכ֜וּ זִקְנֵ֤י מוֹאָב֙ וְזִקְנֵ֣י מִדְיָ֔ן וּקְסָמִ֖ים בְּיָדָ֑ם וַיָּבֹ֨אוּ֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיְדַבְּר֥וּ אֵלָ֖יו דִּבְרֵ֥י בָלָֽק:
with magic charms in their hands: All types of charms, so he could not say, “I don’t have my tools with me.” Another interpretation: The elders of Midian took this omen (קֶסֶם) with them, saying, “If he comes with us this time, there is something to him, but if he pushes us off, he is useless.” Thus, when he said to them, “Lodge here for the night” (verse 8), they said, “He is hopeless” ; so they left him and went away, as it says, “The Moabite nobles stayed with Balaam” (ibid.), but the Midianite elders left. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:8]   וּקְסָמִים בְּיָדָם: כָּל מִינֵי קְסָמִים, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמַר אֵין כְּלֵי תַשְׁמִישִׁי עִמִּי; דָּבָר אַחֵר — קֶסֶם זֶה נָטְלוּ בְיָדָם זִקְנֵי מִדְיָן, אָמְרוּ אִם יָבֹא עִמָּנוּ בַּפַּעַם הַזֹּאת יֵשׁ בּוֹ מַמָּשׁ, וְאִם יִדְחֵנוּ אֵין בּוֹ תוֹעֶלֶת, לְפִיכָךְ כְּשֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם "לִינוּ פֹה הַלַּיְלָה" אָמְרוּ אֵין בּוֹ תִקְוָה, הִנִּיחוּהוּ וְהָלְכוּ לָהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׂרֵי מוֹאָב עִם בִּלְעָם", אֲבָל זִקְנֵי מִדְיָן הָלְכוּ לָהֶם (שם):
8He said to them, "Lodge here for the night, and I will give you an answer when the Lord speaks to me." So the Moabite nobles stayed with Balaam.   חוַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם לִ֤ינוּ פֹה֙ הַלַּ֔יְלָה וַֽהֲשִֽׁבֹתִ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ דָּבָ֔ר כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר יְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֵלָ֑י וַיֵּֽשְׁב֥וּ שָׂרֵֽי־מוֹאָ֖ב עִם־בִּלְעָֽם:
Lodge here for the night: The Divine Spirit rested on him only at night, and the same applied to all gentile prophets. So it was with Laban, [God came to him] in a dream at night, as it says, “God came to Laban the Aramite in a dream at night” (Gen. 31:24), like a man going to his concubine in secret. — [Mid. Lev. Rabbah 1:13]   לִינוּ פֹה הַלַּיְלָה: אֵין רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ שׁוֹרָה עָלָיו אֶלָּא בַּלַּיְלָה, וְכֵן לְכָל נְבִיאֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, וְכֵן לָבָן בַּחֲלוֹם הַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ל"א) "וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי בַּחֲלוֹם הַלַּיְלָה" כְּאָדָם הַהוֹלֵךְ אֵצֶל פִּילַגְשׁוֹ בְּהֵחָבֵא (תנחומא; ויקרא רבה א'):
when the Lord speaks to me: If He advises me to go with people like you, I will go with you. But perhaps it is beneath His dignity to allow me to go with anyone but higher ranking nobles than you.   כַּֽאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר ה' אֵלָי: אִם יַמְלִיכֵנִי לָלֶכֶת עִם בְּנֵי אָדָם כְּמוֹתְכֶם, אֵלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם, שֶׁמָּא אֵין כְּבוֹדוֹ לְתִתִּי לַהֲלֹךְ אֶלָּא עִם שָׂרִים גְּדוֹלִים מִכֶּם:
stayed: Heb. וַיֵּשְׁבוּ, a term denoting remaining. - [Onkelos]   וַיֵּֽשְׁבוּ: לְשׁוֹן עַכָּבָה:
9God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with you?"   טוַיָּבֹ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר מִ֛י הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה עִמָּֽךְ:
Who are these men with you: It came to delude him. [Rashi means: “the ways of the Lord are straight, and the righteous shall walk in them, and the rebellious shall stumble on them” (Hosea 14:10). By asking, “Who are these men with you,” God meant to enter into a conversation with him, as Rashi states in the section Bereishith (3:9) on the word, “Where are you?” But it came to Balaam to delude him, for he erred.] He [Balaam] said, “Sometimes, not everything is revealed before Him, for He is not always omniscient. I will find a time when I am able to curse, and He will not realize it.”- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]   מִי הָֽאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה עִמָּֽךְ: לְהַטְעוֹתוֹ בָא, אָמַר פְּעָמִים שֶׁאֵין הַכֹּל גָּלוּי לְפָנָיו, אֵין דַּעְתּוֹ שָׁוָה עָלָיו, אַף אֲנִי אֶרְאֶה עֵת שֶׁאוּכַל לְקַלֵּל וְלֹא יָבִין (תנחומא):
10Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor the king of Moab has sent [them] to me, [saying]:   יוַיֹּ֥אמֶר בִּלְעָ֖ם אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים בָּלָ֧ק בֶּן־צִפֹּ֛ר מֶ֥לֶךְ מוֹאָ֖ב שָׁלַ֥ח אֵלָֽי:
Balak the son of Zippor: Although I am not important in Your eyes, I am considered important in the eyes of the kings. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]   בָּלָק בֶּן־צפור וגו': אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינִי חָשׁוּב בְּעֵינֶיךָ, חָשׁוּב אֲנִי בְּעֵינֵי הַמְּלָכִים (שם):
11"Behold the people coming out of Egypt, a nation, has covered the 'eye' of the earth. Come and curse them for me, perhaps I will be able to fight against them and drive them out."   יאהִנֵּ֤ה הָעָם֙ הַיֹּצֵ֣א מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וַיְכַ֖ס אֶת־עֵ֣ין הָאָ֑רֶץ עַתָּ֗ה לְכָ֤ה קָֽבָה־לִּי֙ אֹת֔וֹ אוּלַ֥י אוּכַ֛ל לְהִלָּ֥חֶם בּ֖וֹ וְגֵֽרַשְׁתִּֽיו:
curse it: Heb. קָבָה לּי. [This expression used by Balaam] is stronger than אָרָה לּי [used by Balak in verse 6], for it specifies and details [the curse]- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]   קָֽבָה־לִּי: זוֹ קָשָׁה מֵאָרָה לִּי, שֶׁהוּא נוֹקֵב וּמְפָרֵשׁ (שם):
and drive it out: of the world. Balak said only, “and I will drive him out of the land” (verse 6). [His intention was:] I want only to get them away from me, but Balaam hated them more than did Balak. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]   וְגֵֽרַשְׁתִּֽיו: מִן הָעוֹלָם, וּבָלָק לֹא אָמַר אֶלָּא וַאֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִן הָאָרֶץ — אֵינִי מְבַקֵּשׁ אֶלָּא לְהַסִּיעָם מֵעָלַי, וּבִלְעָם הָיָה שׂוֹנְאָם יוֹתֵר מִבָּלָק (שם):
12God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them! You shall not curse the people because they are blessed."   יבוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם לֹ֥א תֵלֵ֖ךְ עִמָּהֶ֑ם לֹ֤א תָאֹר֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם כִּ֥י בָר֖וּךְ הֽוּא:
You shall not go with them: He said to Him, “If so, I will curse them in my place.” He replied to him, “You shall not curse the people.” He said, “If so, I will bless them.” He replied, “They do not need your blessing, ‘for they are blessed.’ ” As the saying goes, “We say to the wasp (Other editions: the bee), ‘Neither your honey, nor your sting.’ ” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   לֹא תֵלֵךְ עִמָּהֶם: אָמַר לוֹ אִם כֵּן אֲקַלְּלֵם בִּמְקוֹמִי, אָמַר לוֹ לא תאר את העם, אָמַר לוֹ אִם כֵּן אֲבָרְכֵם, אָמַר לוֹ אֵינָם צְרִיכִים לְבִרְכָתְךָ, כי ברוך הוא, מָשָׁל, אוֹמְרִים לְצִרְעָה לֹא מִדֻּבְשֵׁךְ וְלֹא מֵעֻקְצֵךְ (שם):

Second Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 22

13When Balaam arose in the morning, he said to Balak's nobles, "Return to your country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you."   יג וַיָּ֤קָם בִּלְעָם֙ בַּבֹּ֔קֶר וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־שָׂרֵ֣י בָלָ֔ק לְכ֖וּ אֶל־אַרְצְכֶ֑ם כִּ֚י מֵאֵ֣ן יְהֹוָ֔ה לְתִתִּ֖י לַֽהֲלֹ֥ךְ עִמָּכֶֽם:
to go with you: Only with greater nobles than you. This shows us that he was conceited and unwilling to reveal that he was under the control of the Omnipresent except in an arrogant manner. Therefore, “But Balak sent… again…” (verse 15) - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Balak Num. Rabbah 20:10]   לַֽהֲלֹךְ עִמָּכֶֽם: אֶלָּא עִם שָׂרִים גְּדוֹלִים מִכֶּם, לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁרוּחוֹ גְבוֹהָה, וְלֹא רָצָה לְגַלּוֹת שֶׁהוּא בִרְשׁוּתוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם, אֶלָּא בִלְשׁוֹן גַּסּוּת, לְפִיכָךְ ויסף עוד בלק:
14Moab's nobles arose and came to Balak and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us."   ידוַיָּק֨וּמוּ֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מוֹאָ֔ב וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ אֶל־בָּלָ֑ק וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ מֵאֵ֥ן בִּלְעָ֖ם הֲלֹ֥ךְ עִמָּֽנוּ:
15So Balak continued to send dignitaries, more and higher in rank than these.   טווַיֹּ֥סֶף ע֖וֹד בָּלָ֑ק שְׁלֹ֣חַ שָׂרִ֔ים רַבִּ֥ים וְנִכְבָּדִ֖ים מֵאֵֽלֶּה:
16They came to Balaam and said to him, "So said Balak the son of Zippor, 'Please do not hesitate to come to me.   טזוַיָּבֹ֖אוּ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֣אמְרוּ ל֗וֹ כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ בָּלָ֣ק בֶּן־צִפּ֔וֹר אַל־נָ֥א תִמָּנַ֖ע מֵֽהֲלֹ֥ךְ אֵלָֽי:
17For I will honor you greatly and do whatever you tell me to do. So please come and curse this people for me.'"   יזכִּֽי־כַבֵּ֤ד אֲכַבֶּדְךָ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וְכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־תֹּאמַ֥ר אֵלַ֖י אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֑ה וּלְכָה־נָּא֙ קָֽבָה־לִּ֔י אֵ֖ת הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּֽה:
For I will honor you greatly: I will give you more than you have ever received in the past. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   כִּֽי־כַבֵּד אֲכַבֶּדְךָ מְאֹד: יוֹתֵר מִמַּה שֶּׁהָיִיתָ נוֹטֵל לְשֶׁעָבַר אֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ (שם):
18Balaam answered and said to Balak's servants, "Even if Balak gives me a house full of silver and gold, I cannot do anything small or great that would transgress the word of the Lord, my God.   יחוַיַּ֣עַן בִּלְעָ֗ם וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־עַבְדֵ֣י בָלָ֔ק אִם־יִתֶּן־לִ֥י בָלָ֛ק מְלֹ֥א בֵית֖וֹ כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֑ב לֹ֣א אוּכַ֗ל לַֽעֲבֹר֙ אֶת־פִּ֨י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֔י לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת קְטַנָּ֖ה א֥וֹ גְדוֹלָֽה:
a house full of silver and gold: This shows us that he was greedy and coveted other people’s money. He said, “He ought to give me all his silver and gold, since he has to hire many armies, and even then, it is questionable whether he will be victorious or not, whereas I will certainly succeed.”- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak; Num. Rabbah 20:10]   מְלֹא בֵיתוֹ כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב: לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁנַּפְשׁוֹ רְחָבָה וּמְחַמֵּד מָמוֹן אֲחֵרִים, אָמַר רָאוּי לוֹ לִתֵּן לִי כָּל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב שֶׁלּוֹ, שֶׁהֲרֵי צָרִיךְ לִשְׂכֹּר חַיָּלוֹת רַבּוֹת, סָפֵק נוֹצֵחַ סָפֵק אֵינוֹ נוֹצֵחַ, וַאֲנִי וַדַּאי נוֹצֵחַ (שם):
I cannot… transgress: He unwillingly admitted that he was under the control of others. Here he prophesied that he could not annul the blessings with which the patriarchs had been blessed by the mouth of the Divine Presence. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   לֹא אוּכַל לַֽעֲבֹר: עַל כָּרְחוֹ גִלָּה שֶׁהוּא בִרְשׁוּת אַחֵרִים, וְנִתְנַבֵּא כָאן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְבַטֵּל הַבְּרָכוֹת שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְכוּ הָאָבוֹת מִפִּי הַשְּׁכִינָה (שם):
19Now, you too, please remain here overnight, and I will know what the Lord will continue to speak with me."   יטוְעַתָּ֗ה שְׁב֨וּ נָ֥א בָזֶ֛ה גַּם־אַתֶּ֖ם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְאֵ֣דְעָ֔ה מַה־יֹּסֵ֥ף יְהֹוָ֖ה דַּבֵּ֥ר עִמִּֽי:
you too: His mouth tripped him up [into telling them the truth]: You too, will end up leaving disappointed like the first group. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   גַּם־אַתֶּם: פִּיו הִכְשִׁילוֹ — גַּם אַתֶּם סוֹפְכֶם לֵילֵךְ בְּפַחֵי נֶפֶשׁ כָּרִאשׁוֹנִים:
what [the Lord] will continue: He will not change His mind from a blessing to a curse, but if only He does not continue to bless [them]! Here he prophesied that He [God] would add to their blessings through him. — [See Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   מַה־יֹּסֵף: לֹא יְשַׁנֶּה דְבָרָיו מִבְּרָכָה לִקְלָלָה, הַלְוַאי שֶׁלֹּא יוֹסִיף לְבָרֵךְ; כָּאן נִתְנַבֵּא שֶׁעָתִיד לְהוֹסִיף לָהֶם בְּרָכוֹת עַל יָדוֹ (שם):
20God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If these men have come to call for you, arise and go with them, but the word I speak to you-that you shall do."   כוַיָּבֹ֨א אֱלֹהִ֥ים | אֶל־בִּלְעָם֘ לַ֒יְלָה֒ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ אִם־לִקְרֹ֤א לְךָ֙ בָּ֣אוּ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים ק֖וּם לֵ֣ךְ אִתָּ֑ם וְאַ֗ךְ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֛ר אֲשֶׁר־אֲדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶ֖יךָ אֹת֥וֹ תַֽעֲשֶֽׂה:
If these men have come to call for you: If the calling is for you, and you expect payment for it, arise and go with them.   אִם־לִקְרֹא לְךָ: אִם הַקְּרִיאָה שֶׁלְּךָ וְסָבוּר אַתָּה לִטֹּל עָלֶיהָ שָׂכָר, קום לך אתם:
but: In spite of yourself, “the word I speak to you-that you shall do.” Nevertheless, “Balaam went.” He said, "Perhaps I can persuade Him and He will consent [to my cursing them]."   וְאַךְ: עַל כָּרְחֲךָ את הדבר אשר אדבר אליך אתו תעשה; וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן וַיֵּלֶךְ בִּלְעָם, אָמַר שֶׁמָּא אֲפַתֶּנּוּ וְיִתְרַצֶּה:

Third Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 22

21In the morning Balaam arose, saddled his she-donkey and went with the Moabite dignitaries.   כאוַיָּ֤קָם בִּלְעָם֙ בַּבֹּ֔קֶר וַיַּֽחֲב֖שׁ אֶת־אֲתֹנ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ עִם־שָׂרֵ֥י מוֹאָֽב:
saddled his she-donkey: From here [we learn] that hate causes a disregard for the standard [of dignified conduct], for he saddled it himself. The Holy One, blessed is He, said, “Wicked one, their father Abraham has already preceded you, as it says, 'Abraham arose in the morning and saddled his donkey’” (Gen. 22:3). - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 8, Num. Rabbah 20:12]   וַיַּֽחֲבשׁ אֶת־אֲתֹנוֹ: מִכָּאן שֶׁהַשִּׂנְאָה מְקַלְקֶלֶת אֶת הַשּׁוּרָה, שֶׁחָבַשׁ הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ; אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רָשָׁע כְּבָר קְדָמְךָ אַבְרָהָם אֲבִיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית כ"ב) "וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲבֹשׁ אֶת חֲמֹרוֹ" (תנחומא):
with the Moabite dignitaries: His intent was the same as theirs. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 8, Num. Rabbah 20:12]   עִם־שָׂרֵי מוֹאָֽב: לִבּוֹ כְּלִבָּם שָׁוֶה:
22God's wrath flared because he was going, and an angel of the Lord stationed himself on the road to thwart him, and he was riding on his she-donkey, and his two servants were with him.   כבוַיִּֽחַר־אַ֣ף אֱלֹהִים֘ כִּֽי־הוֹלֵ֣ךְ הוּא֒ וַיִּתְיַצֵּ֞ב מַלְאַ֧ךְ יְהֹוָ֛ה בַּדֶּ֖רֶךְ לְשָׂטָ֣ן ל֑וֹ וְהוּא֙ רֹכֵ֣ב עַל־אֲתֹנ֔וֹ וּשְׁנֵ֥י נְעָרָ֖יו עִמּֽוֹ:
because he was going: He saw that this was considered evil by the Omnipresent, yet he longed to go.   כִּֽי־הוֹלֵךְ הוּא: רָאָה שֶׁהַדָּבָר רַע בְּעֵינֵי הַמָּקוֹם וְנִתְאַוָּה לֵילֵךְ:
to thwart him: It was an angel of mercy [as the Name vuvh denotes the attribute of mercy], and he wanted to prevent him from sinning, for should he sin, he would perish. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 8, Num. Rabbah 20:13]   לְשָׂטָן לוֹ: מַלְאָךְ שֶׁל רַחֲמִים הָיָה, וְהָיָה רוֹצֶה לְמָנְעוֹ מִלַּחֲטֹא, שֶׁלֹּא יֶחֱטָא וְיֹאבַד (שם):
and his two servants were with him: From here we learn that a distinguished person who embarks on a journey should take two people with him to attend him, and then they can attend each other [so that when one is occupied, the other takes his place]. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 8, Num. Rabbah 20:13]   וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּֽוֹ: מִכָּאן לְאָדָם חָשׁוּב הַיּוֹצֵא לַדֶּרֶךְ יוֹלִיךְ עִמּוֹ שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים לְשַׁמְּשׁוֹ, וְחוֹזְרִים וּמְשַׁמְּשִׁים זֶה אֶת זֶה (שם):
23The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord stationed on the road with his sword drawn in his hand; so the she-donkey turned aside from the road and went into a field. Balaam beat the she-donkey to get it back onto the road.   כגוַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאָתוֹן֩ אֶת־מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֜ה נִצָּ֣ב בַּדֶּ֗רֶךְ וְחַרְבּ֤וֹ שְׁלוּפָה֙ בְּיָד֔וֹ וַתֵּ֤ט הָֽאָתוֹן֙ מִן־הַדֶּ֔רֶךְ וַתֵּ֖לֶךְ בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה וַיַּ֤ךְ בִּלְעָם֙ אֶת־הָ֣אָת֔וֹן לְהַטֹּתָ֖הּ הַדָּֽרֶךְ:
The she-donkey saw: But he [Balaam] did not see, for God permitted a beast to perceive more than a man. Since he [man] possesses intelligence, he would become insane if he saw demons.   וַתֵּרֶא הָֽאָתוֹן: וְהוּא לֹא רָאָה שֶׁנָּתַן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רְשׁוּת לַבְּהֵמָה לִרְאוֹת יוֹתֵר מִן הָאָדָם, שֶׁמִּתוֹךְ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ דַּעַת, תִּטָּרֵף דַּעְתּוֹ כְּשֶׁיִּרְאֶה מַזִּיקִין:
with his sword drawn in his hand: He said, “This wicked man has forsaken the tools of his own art, for the weapon of the heathen nations is the sword, and he is coming against them with [the power of] his mouth, which is their specialty. I too, will take hold of his (art) and accost him with his own art.” This indeed was his fate [as it says], “and Balaam the son of Beor they slew with the sword” (31:8). - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 8, Num. Rabbah 20:13]   וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ: אָמַר, רָשָׁע זֶה הִנִּיחַ כְּלִי אֻמָּנוּתוֹ, שֶׁכְּלִי זֵינָן שֶׁל אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם בַּחֶרֶב, וְהוּא בָא עֲלֵיהֶם בְּפִיו שֶׁהוּא אֻמָּנוּת שֶׁלָּהֶם, אַף אֲנִי אֶתְפֹּשׂ אֶת שֶׁלּוֹ וְאָבֹא עָלָיו בְּאֻמָּנוּתוֹ, וְכֵן סוֹפוֹ — "וְאֵת בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר הָרְגוּ בֶחָרֶב" (במדבר ל"א):
24The angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, with a fence on this side and a fence on that side.   כדוַיַּֽעֲמֹד֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּמִשְׁע֖וֹל הַכְּרָמִ֑ים גָּדֵ֥ר מִזֶּ֖ה וְגָדֵ֥ר מִזֶּֽה:
in a path: Heb. בְּמִשְׁעוֹל, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders, בִּשְׁבִיל, in a path. Similarly, “if the dust of Samaria will suffice for the soles (לִשְׁעָלִים)” (I Kings 20:10) -the dust that sticks to the soles of the feet while walking. Similarly, “Who measured the waters with his step (בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ)?” (Isa. 40:12) -with his feet and with his step [as one measures by pacing].   בְּמִשְׁעוֹל: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "בִּשְׁבִיל", וְכֵן "אִם יִשְׂפֹּק עֲפַר שֹׁמְרוֹן לִשְׁעָלִים" (מלכים א כ') — עָפָר הַנִּדְבָּק בְּכַפּוֹת הָרַגְלַיִם בְּהִלּוּכָן, וְכֵן "מִי מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם" (ישעיהו מ') — בְּרַגְלָיו וּבְהִלּוּכוֹ:
with a fence on either side: Heb. גָּדֵר. Unless specified otherwise, גָּדֵר refers to one made of stone.   גָּדֵר מִזֶּה וְגָדֵר מִזֶּה: סְתָם גָּדֵר שֶׁל אֲבָנִים הוּא:
25The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she was pressed against the wall. She pressed Balaam's leg against the wall, and he beat her again.   כהוַתֵּ֨רֶא הָֽאָת֜וֹן אֶת־מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהֹוָ֗ה וַתִּלָּחֵץ֙ אֶל־הַקִּ֔יר וַתִּלְחַ֛ץ אֶת־רֶ֥גֶל בִּלְעָ֖ם אֶל־הַקִּ֑יר וַיֹּ֖סֶף לְהַכֹּתָֽהּ:
She was pressed: וַתִּלָּחֵץ. [The ‘ niphal’ form denotes] she herself.   וַתִּלָּחֵץ: הִיא עַצְמָהּ:
She pressed: וַתִּלְחַץ. [The ‘kal’ form denotes that she pressed] something else, namely, Balaam’s leg.   וַתִּלְחַץ: אֶת אֲחֵרִים, אֶת רֶגֶל בִּלְעָם:
26The angel of the Lord continued going ahead, and he stood in a narrow place, where there was no room to turn right or left.   כווַיּ֥וֹסֶף מַלְאַךְ־יְהֹוָ֖ה עֲב֑וֹר וַיַּֽעֲמֹד֙ בְּמָק֣וֹם צָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֵֽין־דֶּ֥רֶךְ לִנְט֖וֹת יָמִ֥ין וּשְׂמֹֽאול:
The angel of the Lord continued going ahead: He continued further ahead of him, [that is,] to be before him in another spot, as in, “he [Jacob] went ahead (עָבַר) of them” (Gen. 33:3). The Midrash Aggadah in Tanchuma (8) [asks]: What made him stop in three places? For he [the angel] showed him [Balaam] symbols alluding to the patriarchs.   וַיּוֹסֶף מַלְאַךְ־ה' עֲבוֹר: לַעֲבֹר עוֹד לְפָנָיו — לַהֲלֹךְ לִהְיוֹת לְפָנָיו בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, כְּמוֹ "וְהוּא עָבַר לִפְנֵיהֶם" (בראשית ל"ג); וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה יֵשׁ בְּתַנְחוּמָא: מָה רָאָה לַעֲמֹד בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה מְקוֹמוֹת? סִימָנֵי אָבוֹת הֶרְאָהוּ:
27The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and it crouched down under Balaam. Balaam's anger flared, and he beat the she-donkey with a stick.   כזוַתֵּ֤רֶא הָֽאָתוֹן֙ אֶת־מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה וַתִּרְבַּ֖ץ תַּ֣חַת בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֣ף בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיַּ֥ךְ אֶת־הָֽאָת֖וֹן בַּמַּקֵּֽל:
28The Lord opened the mouth of the she-donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?"   כחוַיִּפְתַּ֥ח יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־פִּ֣י הָֽאָת֑וֹן וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לְבִלְעָם֙ מֶה־עָשִׂ֣יתִי לְךָ֔ כִּ֣י הִכִּיתָ֔נִי זֶ֖ה שָׁל֥שׁ רְגָלִֽים:
these three times: He hinted to him, You seek to uproot a nation which celebrates three festivals (שָׁלשׁ רְגָלִים) in a year?- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 9, Num. Rabbah 20:14]   זֶה שָׁלשׁ רְגָלִֽים: רָמַז לוֹ: אַתָּה מְבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲקֹר אֻמָּה הַחוֹגֶגֶת שָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים בַּשָּׁנָה? (תנחומא):
29Balaam said to the she-donkey, "For you have humiliated me; if I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."   כטוַיֹּ֤אמֶר בִּלְעָם֙ לָֽאָת֔וֹן כִּ֥י הִתְעַלַּ֖לְתְּ בִּ֑י ל֤וּ יֶשׁ־חֶ֨רֶב֙ בְּיָדִ֔י כִּ֥י עַתָּ֖ה הֲרַגְתִּֽיךְ:
you have humiliated: Heb. הִתְעַלַּלְתָּ. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders it, a term denoting shame and disgrace.   הִתְעַלַּלְתְּ: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, לְשׁוֹן גְּנַאי וּבִזָּיוֹן:
If I had a sword in my hand: This matter made him greatly contemptible in the eyes of the dignitaries. This man was going to kill an entire nation with his mouth, yet for this she-donkey he needed weapons!- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 9, Num. Rabbah 20:14]   לוּ יֶשׁ־חֶרֶב בְּיָדִי: גְּנוּת גְּדוֹלָה הָיָה לוֹ דָבָר זֶה בְּעֵינֵי הַשָּׂרִים — זֶה הוֹלֵךְ לַהֲרֹג אֻמָּה שְׁלֵמָה בְּפִיו וּלְאָתוֹן זוֹ צָרִיךְ כְּלֵי זַיִן:
30The she-donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your she-donkey on which you have ridden since you first started until now? Have I been accustomed to do this to you?" He said, "No."   לוַתֹּ֨אמֶר הָֽאָת֜וֹן אֶל־בִּלְעָ֗ם הֲלוֹא֩ אָֽנֹכִ֨י אֲתֹֽנְךָ֜ אֲשֶׁר־רָכַ֣בְתָּ עָלַ֗י מֵעֽוֹדְךָ֙ עַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה הַֽהַסְכֵּ֣ן הִסְכַּ֔נְתִּי לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת לְךָ֖ כֹּ֑ה וַיֹּ֖אמֶר לֹֽא:
Have I become accustomed: Heb. הַהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders [lit., have I learned to do this?]. Similarly, “Does man learn (יִסְכָּן) for God?” (Job 22:2). Our Rabbis, however, expounded this verse in the Talmud: They [the Moabite dignitaries] said to him, “Why aren’t you riding on a horse?” He [Balaam] said to them, “I sent it out to pasture.” [Immediately, the she-donkey retorted, “Am I not your she-donkey?” He said to her, “Just for bearing burdens.” She retorted, “on which you have ridden.” He said to her, “Only on occasion.” She retorted, “since you first started until now, and not only that but I provide you with riding by day, and with intimacy at night, (interpreting Heb. הַהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי as ”I heated you up,") as is stated in Tractate Avodah Zarah [4b].   הַֽהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, וְכֵן "הַלְאֵל יִסְכָּן גָּבֶר" (איוב כ"ב); וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ דָרְשׁוּ מִקְרָא זֶה בַּתַּלְמוּד, אָמְרוּ לֵיהּ מַאי טַעְמָא לָא רְכַבְתְּ אַסּוּסְיָא? אֲמַר לְהוּ בִּרְטִיבָא שְׁדַאי לֵיהּ כו', כִּדְאִיתָא בְמַסֶּכֶת עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה (דף ד'):
31The Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a sword drawn in his hand. He bowed and prostrated himself on his face.   לאוַיְגַ֣ל יְהֹוָה֘ אֶת־עֵינֵ֣י בִלְעָם֒ וַיַּ֞רְא אֶת־מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהֹוָה֙ נִצָּ֣ב בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וְחַרְבּ֥וֹ שְׁלֻפָ֖ה בְּיָד֑וֹ וַיִּקֹּ֥ד וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ לְאַפָּֽיו:
32The angel of the Lord said to him, "Why have you beaten your she-donkey these three times? Behold, I have came out to thwart you, for the one embarking on the journey has hastened against me.   לבוַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהֹוָ֔ה עַל־מָ֗ה הִכִּ֨יתָ֙ אֶת־אֲתֹ֣נְךָ֔ זֶ֖ה שָׁל֣וֹשׁ רְגָלִ֑ים הִנֵּ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ יָצָ֣אתִי לְשָׂטָ֔ן כִּֽי־יָרַ֥ט הַדֶּ֖רֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּֽי:
for the one embarking on the journey has hastened against me: Heb. יָרַט. Our Rabbis, the Sages of the Mishnah, expounded this word (יָרַט) as an acronym [of the words] יָרְאָה רָאֲתָה נָטְתָה, “She feared, she saw, she turned aside” (Shab. 105a), because the course you took is contrary to me, that is to say, you [made this journey] to make me vengeful and provoke me. According to the literal meaning [it means חָרֵד], “because the journey was hurried against me.” The term יָרַט is cognate with רָטַט, rapid movement, [meaning,] for I saw that the one embarking on the journey [Balaam] has hastened and hurried on his way, in order to anger me and provoke me. The verse is elliptical [as it should read בַּעַל הַדֶּרֶך‏ֶ, the one embarking on the journey]. Similar is וַתְּכַל דָּוִד “David longed” (II Sam. 13:39), which means וַתְּכַל נֶפֶשׁ דָּוִד, “David’s soul longed,” [as is apparent from the feminine prefix of the verb וַתְּכַל. Another interpretation: [The term] יָרַט denotes desire. Similar is, “through the wicked He placates me (יִרְטֵנִי)” (Job 16:11); He appeases me and comforts me through the wicked, who do nothing but provoke me. [Hence, the verse is rendered: the one who embarked on the journey desired to provoke me.] - [Machbereth Menachem p. 163]   כִּֽי־יָרַט הַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּֽי: רַבּוֹתֵינוּ חַכְמֵי הַמִּשְׁנָה דְּרָשׁוּהוּ נוֹטָרִיקוֹן — יָרְאָה, רָאֲתָה, נָטְתָה בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁהַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּי (שבת ק"ה), כְּלוֹמַר לְקִנְאָתִי וּלְהַקְנִיטֵנִי; וּלְפִי מַשְׁמָעוֹ כִּי חָרַד הַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּי, לְשׁוֹן רֶטֶט — כִּי רָאִיתִי בַעַל הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁחָרַד וּמִהֵר הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא לְכַעְסִי וּלְהַמְרוֹתִי, וּמִקְרָא קָצָר הוּא, כְּמוֹ "וַתְּכַל דָּוִד" (שמואל ב י"ג); לִישָׁנָא אַחֲרִינָא יָרַט לְשׁוֹן רָצוֹן, וְכֵן "עַל יְדֵי רְשָׁעִים יִרְטֵנִי" (איוב ט"ז) — מְפַיֵּס וּמְנַחֵם אוֹתִי עַל יְדֵי רְשָׁעִים שֶׁאֵינָן אֶלָּא מַקְנִיטִים:
33When the she-donkey saw me, it turned aside these three times. Had she not turned aside before me, now also I would also have killed you and spared her [the she-donkey]."   לגוַתִּרְאַ֨נִי֙ הָֽאָת֔וֹן וַתֵּ֣ט לְפָנַ֔י זֶ֖ה שָׁל֣שׁ רְגָלִ֑ים אוּלַי֙ נָֽטְתָ֣ה מִפָּנַ֔י כִּ֥י עַתָּ֛ה גַּם־אֹֽתְכָ֥ה הָרַ֖גְתִּי וְאוֹתָ֥הּ הֶֽחֱיֵֽיתִי:
Had she not turned: Heb. אוּלַי, like לוּלֵא ‘if not.’ Sometimes אוּלַי is used in the sense of לוּלֵא.   אוּלַי נָֽטְתָה: כְּמוֹ לוּלֵי, פְּעָמִים שֶׁאוּלַי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן לוּלֵי:
I would also have killed you: Heb. גַּם אֹתְכָה הָרַגְתִּי, I would have killed you also. This is a transposed verse, like הָרַגְתִּי אֹת‏ ְגַּם, I would also have killed you, meaning to say: Not only would the delay have befallen you through me but even [your] death.   גַּם־אֹֽתְכָה הָרַגְתִּי: הֲרֵי זֶה מִקְרָא מְסֹרָס וְהוּא כְמוֹ גַּם הָרַגְתִּי אוֹתְךָ, כְּלוֹמַר, לֹא הָעַכָּבָה בִּלְבַד קְרָאַתְךָ עַל יָדִי, כִּי גַם הַהֲרִיגָה:
and spared her: But now, since she spoke and rebuked you, and you could not withstand her rebuke, as it is written, “He said, No,” therefore, I have killed her, so that [people] should not say, “This is the one that silenced Balaam with her rebuke, and he could not respond,” for the Omnipresent shows regard for human dignity. Similarly, “you shall kill the woman and the animal [through which the sin was committed]” (Lev. 20:16), and, “you shall kill the animal” (ibid. 20:15) - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 9, Num. Rabbah 20:14]   וְאוֹתָהּ הֶֽחֱיֵֽיתִי: וְעַתָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁדִּבְּרָה וְהוֹכִיחַתְךָ, וְלֹא יָכֹלְתָּ לַעֲמֹד בְּתוֹכַחְתָּהּ — כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב ויאמר לא — הֲרַגְתִּיהָ, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ, זוֹ הִיא שֶׁסִּלְּקָה בִלְעָם בְּתוֹכַחְתָּהּ וְלֹא יָכוֹל לְהָשִׁיב, שֶׁחָס הַמָּקוֹם עַל כְּבוֹד הַבְּרִיּוֹת, וְכֵן (ויקרא כ') "וְהָרַגְתָּ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְאֶת הַבְּהֵמָה", וְכֵן (שם) "אֶת הַבְּהֵמָה תַּהֲרֹגוּ" (תנחומא):
34Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, "I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing on the road before me. Now, if it displeases you, I will return."   לדוַיֹּ֨אמֶר בִּלְעָ֜ם אֶל־מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהֹוָה֙ חָטָ֔אתִי כִּ֚י לֹ֣א יָדַ֔עְתִּי כִּ֥י אַתָּ֛ה נִצָּ֥ב לִקְרָאתִ֖י בַּדָּ֑רֶךְ וְעַתָּ֛ה אִם־רַ֥ע בְּעֵינֶ֖יךָ אָשׁ֥וּבָה לִּֽי:
for I did not know: This too is a [mark of] disgrace for him, but he was forced to concede, for [earlier] he had boasted that he was aware of the thoughts of the Most High, but now his mouth professed, “I did not know.” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 9]   כִּי לֹא יָדַעְתִּי: גַּם זֶה גְנוּתוֹ, וְעַל כָּרְחוֹ הוֹדָה, שֶׁהוּא הָיָה מִשְׁתַּבֵּחַ שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ דַּעַת עֶלְיוֹן, וּפִיו הֵעִיד לֹא יָדַעְתִּי (שם):
if it displeases you, I will return: This reply was a challenge against the Omnipresent. He [Balaam] said to him, “He [God] Himself commanded me to go, yet you, an angel, annul His words. This is His custom: He says one thing and an angel retracts it. He said to Abraham, ”Take now your son“ (Gen. 22:2), and through an angel He annulled His words. I, too; if it displeases you, I will have to return.”- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 10, Num. Rabbah 20:15]   אִם־רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ אָשׁוּבָה לִּֽי: לְהַתְרִיס נֶגֶד הַמָּקוֹם הִיא תְשׁוּבָה זוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ הוּא בְעַצְמוֹ צִוַּנִי לָלֶכֶת וְאַתָּה מַלְאָךְ מְבַטֵּל אֶת דְּבָרָיו, לָמוּד הוּא בְּכָךְ שֶׁאוֹמֵר דָּבָר וּמַלְאָךְ מַחֲזִירוֹ, אָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם "קַח נָא אֶת בִּנְךָ" וְגוֹ' (בראשית כ"ב), וְעַל יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ בִּטֵּל אֶת דְּבָרוֹ, אַף אֲנִי אִם רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ צָרִיךְ אֲנִי לָשׁוּב:
35The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, "Go with these men, but the word I will speak to you-that you shall speak." So Balaam went with Balak's dignitaries.   להוַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־בִּלְעָ֗ם לֵ֚ךְ עִם־הָ֣אֲנָשִׁ֔ים וְאֶ֗פֶס אֶת־הַדָּבָ֛ר אֲשֶׁר־אֲדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶ֖יךָ אֹת֣וֹ תְדַבֵּ֑ר וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ בִּלְעָ֖ם עִם־שָׂרֵ֥י בָלָֽק:
Go with these men: A man is led along the path he wishes to follow. — [Mak. 10b]   לֵךְ עִם־הָאֲנָשִׁים: בַּדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁאָדָם רוֹצֶה לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ, מוֹלִיכִין אוֹתוֹ:
(Go with the men: For your portion is with them, and you are destined to perish from the world. — [Mak. 10b])   לֵךְ עִם־הָאֲנָשִׁים: כִּי חֶלְקְךָ עִמָּהֶם וְסוֹפְךָ לֹאבַד מִן הָעוֹלָם (מכות י'):
but: Against your will, “the word I will speak [to you-that you shall speak.”   וְאֶפֶס: עַל כָּרְחֲךָ את הדבר אשר אדבר וגו':
with Balak’s dignitaries: He was glad to curse them as much as they were. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 10, Num. Rabbah 20:15]   עִם־שָׂרֵי בָלָֽק: שָֹמַח לְקַלְּלֵם כְּמוֹתָם:
36Balak heard that Balaam was coming; so he went out toward him to the city of Moab which is on the border of Arnon-at the extreme edge of the border.   לווַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע בָּלָ֖ק כִּ֣י בָ֣א בִלְעָ֑ם וַיֵּצֵ֨א לִקְרָאת֜וֹ אֶל־עִ֣יר מוֹאָ֗ב אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־גְּב֣וּל אַרְנֹ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר בִּקְצֵ֥ה הַגְּבֽוּל:
Balak heard: He sent messengers ahead to inform him. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 10, Num. Rabbah 20:16]   וַיִּשְׁמַע בָּלָק: שָׁלַח שְׁלוּחִים לְבַשְּׂרוֹ:
to the city of Moab: Its capital, its most important city, as if to say, “Look what these [people] are trying to uproot!” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 10, Num. Rabbah 15]   אֶל־עִיר מוֹאָב: אֶל מֶטְרוֹפּוֹלִין שֶׁלּוֹ — עִיר הַחֲשׁוּבָה שֶׁלּוֹ, לוֹמַר רְאֵה מָה אֵלּוּ מְבַקְשִׁים לַעֲקֹר (תנחומא):
37Balak said to Balaam, "Did I not send to you to call for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I indeed incapable of honoring you?"   לזוַיֹּ֨אמֶר בָּלָ֜ק אֶל־בִּלְעָ֗ם הֲלֹא֩ שָׁלֹ֨חַ שָׁלַ֤חְתִּי אֵלֶ֨יךָ֙ לִקְרֹא־לָ֔ךְ לָ֥מָּה לֹֽא־הָלַ֖כְתָּ אֵלָ֑י הַֽאֻמְנָ֔ם לֹ֥א אוּכַ֖ל כַּבְּדֶֽךָ:
Am I indeed incapable of honoring you?: He prophesied that in the end he would leave him in disgrace. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 10, Num. Rabbah 20:16]   הַֽאֻמְנָם לֹֽא־אוּכַל כַּבְּדֶֽךָ: נִתְנַבֵּא שֶׁסּוֹפוֹ לָצֵאת מֵעִמּוֹ בְקָלוֹן (שם):
38Balaam said to Balak, "Behold I have come to you, do I have any power to say anything? The word God puts into my mouth-that I will speak."   לחוַיֹּ֨אמֶר בִּלְעָ֜ם אֶל־בָּלָ֗ק הִֽנֵּה־בָ֨אתִי֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ עַתָּ֕ה הֲיָכֹ֥ל אוּכַ֖ל דַּבֵּ֣ר מְא֑וּמָה הַדָּבָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָשִׂ֧ים אֱלֹהִ֛ים בְּפִ֖י אֹת֥וֹ אֲדַבֵּֽר:

Fourth Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 22

39Balaam went with Balak, and they arrived at Kiryath Huzoth [a city of streets].   לט וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ בִּלְעָ֖ם עִם־בָּלָ֑ק וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ קִרְיַ֥ת חֻצֽוֹת:
Kiryath Huzoth: A city full of markets, with men, women and children in its streets, as if to say, see, and have pity, so that all these people are not annihilated. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 11, Num. Rabbah 20:17]   קִרְיַת חֻצֽוֹת: עִיר מְלֵאָה שְׁוָקִים, אֲנָשִׁים וָטַף בְּחוּצוֹתֶיהָ, לוֹמַר רְאֵה וְרַחֵם שֶׁלֹּא יֵעָקְרוּ אֵלּוּ:
40Balak slaughtered cattle and sheep and sent [some] to Balaam and to the dignitaries with him.   מוַיִּזְבַּ֥ח בָּלָ֖ק בָּקָ֣ר וָצֹ֑אן וַיְשַׁלַּ֣ח לְבִלְעָ֔ם וְלַשָּׂרִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּֽוֹ:
cattle and sheep: A small number, only one bull and one sheep. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 11, Num. Rabbah 20:17]   בָּקָר וָצֹאן: דָּבָר מוּעָט:
41And in the morning Balak took Balaam and led him up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he saw part of the people.   מאוַיְהִ֣י בַבֹּ֔קֶר וַיִּקַּ֤ח בָּלָק֙ אֶת־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיַּֽעֲלֵ֖הוּ בָּמ֣וֹת בָּ֑עַל וַיַּ֥רְא מִשָּׁ֖ם קְצֵ֥ה הָעָֽם:
Bamoth Baal: As the Targum [Onkelos] understands it: “to the heights of his deity,” [Baal being] the name of a deity.   בָּמוֹת בָּעַל: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, "לְרָמַת דַּחַלְתֵּהּ", שֵׁם עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה:

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 23

1Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams."   אוַיֹּ֤אמֶר בִּלְעָם֙ אֶל־בָּלָ֔ק בְּנֵה־לִ֥י בָזֶ֖ה שִׁבְעָ֣ה מִזְבְּחֹ֑ת וְהָכֵ֥ן לִי֙ בָּזֶ֔ה שִׁבְעָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים וְשִׁבְעָ֥ה אֵילִֽים:
2Balak did as Balaam had requested, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.   בוַיַּ֣עַשׂ בָּלָ֔ק כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֣ר בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיַּ֨עַל בָּלָ֧ק וּבִלְעָ֛ם פָּ֥ר וָאַ֖יִל בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
3Balaam said to Balak, "Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will happen to appear to me, and He will show me something that I can tell you," and he went alone.   גוַיֹּ֨אמֶר בִּלְעָ֜ם לְבָלָ֗ק הִתְיַצֵּב֘ עַל־עֹֽלָתֶ֒ךָ֒ וְאֵֽלְכָ֗ה אוּלַ֞י יִקָּרֶ֤ה יְהֹוָה֙ לִקְרָאתִ֔י וּדְבַ֥ר מַה־יַּרְאֵ֖נִי וְהִגַּ֣דְתִּי לָ֑ךְ וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ שֶֽׁפִי:
Perhaps the Lord will happen to appear to me: He is not accustomed to speak to me by day.   אוּלַי יִקָּרֶה ה' לִקְרָאתִי: אֵינוֹ רָגִיל לְדַבֵּר עִמִּי בַּיּוֹם:
and he went alone: Heb. שֶׁפִי, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: “alone.” The term denotes ease and quietness, that he was accompanied by nothing but silence.   וַיֵּלֶךְ שֶֽׁפִי: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ יְחִידִי, לְשׁוֹן שֹׁפִי וְשֶׁקֶט, שֶׁאֵין עִמּוֹ אֶלָּא שְׁתִיקָה:
4God chanced upon Balaam, and he said to Him, "I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar."   דוַיִּקָּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו אֶת־שִׁבְעַ֤ת הַמִּזְבְּחֹת֙ עָרַ֔כְתִּי וָאַ֛עַל פָּ֥ר וָאַ֖יִל בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
[God] chanced upon: Heb. וַיִּקָּר, an expression denoting [a] casual [meeting or occurrence], and it denotes something shameful, an expression [used for] the uncleanness caused by seminal emission קֶרִי, as if to say, [God appeared to him] with reluctance and with contempt. He would never have appeared to him by day, but He wanted to show His love for Israel. — [Gen. Rabbah 52:5]   וַיִּקָּר: לְשׁוֹן עֲרַאי, לְשׁוֹן גְּנַאי, לְשׁוֹן טֻמְאַת קֶרִי, כְּלוֹמַר בְּקֹשִׁי וּבְבִזָּיוֹן, וְלֹא הָיָה נִגְלֶה אֵלָיו בַּיּוֹם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל לְהַרְאוֹת חִבָּתָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל (בראשית רבה נ"ב):
the seven altars: “I prepared seven altars” is not written here, but “ the seven altars.” He said to Him, “Their patriarchs built seven altars before You, and I have prepared [seven] corresponding to them all.” Abraham built four-“There he built an altar to the Lord Who appeared to him” (Gen. 12:7); “Abraham moved from there to the mountain… [and built an altar there]” (ibid. 8); “Abraham pitched his tent [and built an altar there]” (ibid. 13:18), and one on Mount Moriah (ibid. 22:9). Isaac built one-“He built an altar there” (ibid. 26:25), and Jacob built two-one in Shechem (ibid. 33:20) and one in Beth El (ibid. 35:7). - [See Mid. Tanchuma Balak 11, Tzav 1, Num. Rabbah 20:18]   אֶת־שִׁבְעַת הַמִּזְבְּחֹת: שִׁבְעָה מִזְבְּחֹת עָרַכְתִּי אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן, אֶלָּא אֶת שִׁבְעַת הַמִּזְבְּחֹת, אָמַר לְפָנָיו אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁל אֵלּוּ בָּנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ שִׁבְעָה מִזְבְּחוֹת וַאֲנִי עָרַכְתִּי כְּנֶגֶד כֻּלָּן, אַבְרָהָם בָּנָה אַרְבָּעָה — "וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַה' הַנִּרְאֶה אֵלָיו" (בראשית י"ב), "וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם הָהָרָה" וְגוֹ' (שם), "וַיֶּאֱהַל אַבְרָהָם" וְגוֹ' (שם י"ג), וְאֶחָד בְּהַר הַמּוֹרִיָּה; וְיִצְחָק בָּנָה אֶחָד — "וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ" וְגוֹ' (שם כ"ו), וְיַעֲקֹב בָּנָה שְׁתַּיִם, אֶחָד בִּשְׁכֶם וְאֶחָד בְּבֵית אֵל:
and I offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar: whereas Abraham offered up only a ram. - [See Mid. Tanchuma Balak 11, Tzav 1, Num. Rabbah 20:18]   וָאַעַל פָּר וָאַיִל בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ: וְאַבְרָהָם לֹא הֶעֱלָה אֶלָּא אַיִל אֶחָד (תנחומא צו):
5The Lord placed something into Balaam's mouth, and He said, "Return to Balak and say as follows."   הוַיָּ֧שֶׂם יְהֹוָ֛ה דָּבָ֖ר בְּפִ֣י בִלְעָ֑ם וַיֹּ֛אמֶר שׁ֥וּב אֶל־בָּלָ֖ק וְכֹ֥ה תְדַבֵּֽר:
6When he returned, Balak was standing next to his burnt offering, he and all the Moabite dignitaries.   ווַיָּ֣שָׁב אֵלָ֔יו וְהִנֵּ֥ה נִצָּ֖ב עַל־עֹֽלָת֑וֹ ה֖וּא וְכָל־שָׂרֵ֥י מוֹאָֽב:
7He took up his parable and said, "Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east [saying], 'Come, curse Jacob for me and come invoke wrath against Israel.'   זוַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר מִן־אֲ֠רָ֠ם יַנְחֵ֨נִי בָלָ֤ק מֶֽלֶךְ־מוֹאָב֙ מֵֽהַֽרְרֵי־קֶ֔דֶם לְכָה֙ אָֽרָה־לִּ֣י יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וּלְכָ֖ה זֹֽעֲמָ֥ה יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Come, curse Jacob for me and come invoke wrath against Israel: He told him to curse them with [their] two names, for perhaps one of them was not [their] distinctive [one].   אָֽרָה־לִּי יַֽעֲקֹב וּלְכָה זֹֽעֲמָה יִשְׂרָאֵֽל: בִּשְׁנֵי שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם אָמַר לוֹ לְקַלְּלָם שֶׁמָּא אֶחָד מֵהֶם אֵינוֹ מֻבְהָק:
8How can I curse whom God has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the Lord has not been angered?   חמָ֣ה אֶקֹּ֔ב לֹ֥א קַבֹּ֖ה אֵ֑ל וּמָ֣ה אֶזְעֹ֔ם לֹ֥א זָעַ֖ם יְהֹוָֽה:
How can I curse whom God has not cursed: Even when they deserved to be cursed, they were not cursed, [namely,] when their father [Jacob] recalled their iniquity, [by saying,] “for in their wrath they killed a man” (Gen. 49:6), he cursed only their wrath, as it says, “Cursed be their wrath” (ibid. 7). When their father [Jacob] came in deceit to his father [Isaac], he deserved to be cursed. But what does it say there? “He, too, shall be blessed” (ibid. 27:33). Regarding those who blessed, it says, “These shall stand to bless the people” (Deut. 27:12). However, regarding those who cursed, it does not say, “These shall stand to curse the people” but, “These shall stand for the curse” (ibid. 13), for He [God] did not want to mention the word ‘curse’ in reference to them [the people]. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 12, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל: כְּשֶׁהָיוּ רְאוּיִים לְהִתְקַלֵּל לֹא נִתְקַלְּלוּ — כְּשֶׁהִזְכִּיר אֲבִיהֶם אֶת עֲוֹנָם "כִּי בְאַפָּם הָרְגוּ אִישׁ", לֹא קִלֵּל אֶלָּא אַפָּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "אָרוּר אַפָּם" (בראשית מ"ט); כְּשֶׁנִּכְנַס אֲבִיהֶם בְּמִרְמָה אֵצֶל אָבִיו הָיָה רָאוּי לְהִתְקַלֵּל, מַה נֶּאֱמַר שָׁם? "גַּם בָּרוּךְ יִהְיֶה" (שם כ"ז), בַּמְבָרְכִים נֶאֱמַר "אֵלֶּה יַעַמְדוּ לְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָעָם", בַּמְקַלְּלִים לֹא נֶאֱמַר וְאֵלֶּה יַעַמְדוּ לְקַלֵּל אֶת הָעָם אֶלָּא "וְאֵלֶּה יַעַמְדוּ עַל הַקְּלָלָה" (דברים כ"ז) — לֹא רָצָה לְהַזְכִּיר עֲלֵיהֶם שֵׁם קְלָלָה (תנחומא):
If the Lord has not been angered: I myself am powerless, except that I can determine the precise moment when God becomes angry, and He has not become angry all these days since I have come to you. This is the meaning of the statement, “O my people, remember now what he [Balak king of Moab] planned… and what Balaam… answered him… may you recognize the righteous deeds of the Lord” (Mic. 6:5). - [Ber. 7a, Sanh.. 105b, A.Z. 4b]   לֹא זָעַם ה': אֲנִי אֵין כֹּחִי אֶלָּא שֶׁאֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ לְכַוֵּן הַשָּׁעָה שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כוֹעֵס בָּהּ, וְהוּא לֹא כָעַס כָּל הַיָּמִים הַלָּלוּ שֶׁבָּאתִי אֵלֶיךָ, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מיכה ו') "עַמִּי זְכָר נָא מַה יָּעַץ" וְגוֹ' "וּמֶה עָנָה אֹתוֹ בִּלְעָם" וְגוֹ' "לְמַעַן דַּעַת צִדְקוֹת ה'" (סנהדרין ק"ה):
9For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations.   טכִּֽי־מֵרֹ֤אשׁ צֻרִים֙ אֶרְאֶ֔נּוּ וּמִגְּבָע֖וֹת אֲשׁוּרֶ֑נּוּ הֶן־עָם֙ לְבָדָ֣ד יִשְׁכֹּ֔ן וּבַגּוֹיִ֖ם לֹ֥א יִתְחַשָּֽׁב:
For from its beginning, I see them as mountain peaks: I look at their origins and the beginning of their roots, and I see them established and powerful, like these mountains and hills, because of their patriarchs and matriarchs. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 12, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   כִּֽי־מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ: אֲנִי מִסְתַּכֵּל בְּרֵאשִׁיתָם וּבִתְחִלַּת שָׁרְשֵׁיהֶם וַאֲנִי רוֹאֶה אוֹתָם מְיֻסָּדִים וַחֲזָקִים כְּצוּרִים וּגְבָעוֹת הַלָּלוּ עַל יְדֵי אָבוֹת וְאִמָּהוֹת (תנחומא):
It is a nation that will dwell alone: This is [the legacy] their forefathers gained for them-to dwell alone, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders it [it is a nation that is alone destined to inherit the world].   הֶן־עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן: הוּא אֲשֶׁר זָכוּ לוֹ אֲבוֹתָיו — לִשְׁכֹּן בָּדָד, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
and will not be reckoned among the nations: As Targum [Onkelos] paraphrases, they will not perish along with the other nations, for it says, “for I shall make an end of all the nations…” (Jer. 30:11); they will not be reckoned with the rest. Another interpretation: When they rejoice, no other nation rejoices with them, as it says, “God alone will guide them [to future happiness]” (Deut. 32:12). And when the nations prosper, they will receive a share with each one of them, but it will not be deducted from their account, and this is the meaning of, “and will not be reckoned among the nations.” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 12, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּֽׁב: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, לֹא יִהְיוּ נַעֲשִׂין כָּלָה עִם שְׁאָר הָאֻמּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיהו ל') "כִּי אֶעֱשֶׂה כָלָה בְּכָל הַגּוֹיִם" וְגוֹ', אֵינָן נִמְנִין עִם הַשְּׁאָר. דָּבָר אַחֵר — כְּשֶׁהֵן שְׂמֵחִין אֵין אֻמָּה שְׂמֵחָה עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "ה' בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ" (דברים ל"ב), וּכְשֶׁהָאֻמּוֹת בְּטוֹבָה הֵן אוֹכְלִין עִם כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד וְאֵין עוֹלֶה לָהֶם מִן הַחֶשְׁבּוֹן, וְזֶהוּ ובגוים לא יתחשב (תנחומא):
10Who counted the dust of Jacob or the number of a fourth of [or, of the seed of] Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his."   ימִ֤י מָנָה֙ עֲפַ֣ר יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וּמִסְפָּ֖ר אֶת־רֹ֣בַע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל תָּמֹ֤ת נַפְשִׁי֙ מ֣וֹת יְשָׁרִ֔ים וּתְהִ֥י אַֽחֲרִיתִ֖י כָּמֹֽהוּ:
Who can count the dust of Jacob: As the Targum [Onkelos] renders, “the children of the house of Jacob, [concerning whom it was stated, 'they shall be as many as the dust of the earth, or one] of the four camps” - [referring to] the four divisions. Another interpretation: The dust of Jacob-The number of mitzvoth they fulfill with dust are innumerable: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey [together]” (Deut. 22:10); “You shall not sow your field with a mixture of seeds” (Lev. 19:19), the ashes of the red cow (19:19), the dust used for a woman suspected of infidelity, and others similar to these. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 12, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַֽעֲקֹב וגו': כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "דַּעְדְּקַיָּא דְבֵית יַעֲקֹב", מֵאַרְבַּע מַשִּׁרְיָתָא — מֵאַרְבָּעָה דְּגָלִים; דָּבָר אַחֵר, עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב, אֵין חֶשְׁבּוֹן בַּמִּצְוֹת שֶׁהֵם מְקַיְּמִין בְּעָפָר, "לֹא תַחֲרֹשׁ בְּשׁוֹר וּבַחֲמֹר" (דברים כ"ב), "לֹא תִזְרַע כִּלְאָיִם" (ויקרא י"ט), אֵפֶר פָּרָה וַעֲפַר סוֹטָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָהֶם (תנחומא):
or the number of the seed of: [The word רֹבַע denotes] their copulations; the seed which issues from sexual intercourse. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 12, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   וּמִסְפָּר אֶת־רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל: רְבִיעוֹתֵיהֶן, זֶרַע הַיּוֹצֵא מִן הַתַּשְׁמִישׁ שֶׁלָּהֶם (עי' נדה ל"א):
May my soul die the death of the upright: Among them.   תָּמֹת נַפְשִׁי מוֹת יְשָׁרִים: שֶׁבָּהֶם:
11Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them!"   יאוַיֹּ֤אמֶר בָּלָק֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם מֶ֥ה עָשִׂ֖יתָ לִ֑י לָקֹ֤ב אֹֽיְבַי֙ לְקַחְתִּ֔יךָ וְהִנֵּ֖ה בֵּרַ֥כְתָּ בָרֵֽךְ:
12He answered, saying, "What the Lord puts into my mouth that I must take care to say."   יבוַיַּ֖עַן וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הֲלֹ֗א אֵת֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָשִׂ֤ים יְהֹוָה֙ בְּפִ֔י אֹת֥וֹ אֶשְׁמֹ֖ר לְדַבֵּֽר:

Fifth Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 23

13Balak said to him, "Come with me to another place from where you will see them; however, you will see only a part of them, not all of them and curse them for me from there.   יגוַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו בָּלָ֗ק לְךָ־נָּ֨א אִתִּ֜י אֶל־מָק֤וֹם אַחֵר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּרְאֶ֣נּוּ מִשָּׁ֔ם אֶ֚פֶס קָצֵ֣הוּ תִרְאֶ֔ה וְכֻלּ֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִרְאֶ֑ה וְקָבְנוֹ־לִ֖י מִשָּֽׁם:
curse them for me: Heb. וְקָבְנוֹ לִי. This term is in the imperative: Curse them for me!   וְקָבְנוֹ־לִי: לְשׁוֹן צִוּוּי, קַלְּלֵהוּ לִי:
14He took him to the field of the lookouts, to the peak of the mountain, and he built seven altars and offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.   ידוַיִּקָּחֵ֨הוּ֙ שְׂדֵ֣ה צֹפִ֔ים אֶל־רֹ֖אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֑ה וַיִּ֨בֶן֙ שִׁבְעָ֣ה מִזְבְּחֹ֔ת וַיַּ֛עַל פָּ֥ר וָאַ֖יִל בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
the field of the lookouts: There was a high spot from where a lookout stands on guard in case an army approaches the city.   שְׂדֵה צֹפִים: מָקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ הָיָה שֶׁשָּׁם הַצּוֹפֶה עוֹמֵד לִשְׁמֹר אִם יָבֹא חַיִל עַל הָעִיר:
to the peak of the mountain: Balaam was not as great a diviner as Balak. Balak foresaw that a breach was destined to break into Israel from there, and indeed, Moses died there. He thought that the curse could take effect upon them there, and [he thought,] “This is the breach that I see.” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Num. Rabbah 20:19]   רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה: בִּלְעָם לֹא הָיָה קוֹסֵם כְּבָלָק, רָאָה בָלָק שֶׁעֲתִידָה פִרְצָה לְהִפָּרֵץ בְּיִשָׂרָאֵל מִשָּׁם, שֶׁשָּׁם מֵת מֹשֶׁה, כְּסָבוּר שֶׁשָּׁם תָּחוּל עֲלֵיהֶם הַקְּלָלָה וְזוֹ הִיא הַפִּרְצָה שֶׁאֲנִי רוֹאֶה (תנחומא):
15He said to Balak, "Stand here next to your burnt offering and I will be chanced on here.   טווַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֶל־בָּלָ֔ק הִתְיַצֵּ֥ב כֹּ֖ה עַל־עֹֽלָתֶ֑ךָ וְאָֽנֹכִ֖י אִקָּ֥רֶה כֹּֽה:
I will be chanced on here: By the Holy One, blessed is He.   אִקָּרֶה כֹּה: מֵאֵת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא,:
I will be chanced on: Heb. אקָּרֶה in the passive form.   אִקָּרֶה: לְשׁוֹן אִתְפַּעֵל:
16The Lord chanced upon Balaam and placed something into his mouth. He said, "Return to Balak and so you shall speak."   טזוַיִּקָּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיָּ֥שֶׂם דָּבָ֖ר בְּפִ֑יו וַיֹּ֛אמֶר שׁ֥וּב אֶל־בָּלָ֖ק וְכֹ֥ה תְדַבֵּֽר:
and placed something into his mouth: What is meant by this placing? What would Scripture had lacked had it [simply] said, “Return to Balak and so shall you speak”? However, when he [Balaam] heard that he was not permitted to curse, he said, “Why should I return to Balak to upset him?” So the Holy One, blessed is He, put a bridle and a bit into his mouth, [so to speak,] as a man goads his beast with a bit to lead it wherever he wants. He [God] said to him, You shall return to Balak against your will. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   וַיָּשֶׂם דָּבָר בְּפִיו: וּמַה הִיא הַשִּׂימָה הַזֹּאת? וּמֶה חָסֵר הַמִּקְרָא בְּאָמְרוֹ "שׁוּב אֶל בָּלָק וְכֹה תְדַבֵּר"? אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁהָיָה שׁוֹמֵעַ שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִרְשֶׁה לְקַלֵּל אָמַר מָה אֲנִי חוֹזֵר אֵצֶל בָּלָק לְצַעֲרוֹ? וְנָתַן לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רֶסֶן וְחַכָּה בְּפִיו, כְּאָדָם הַפּוֹקֵס בְּהֵמָה בְּחַכָּה לְהוֹלִיכָהּ אֶל אֲשֶׁר יִרְצֶה, אָמַר לוֹ עַל כָּרְחֲךָ תָּשׁוּב אֶל בָּלָק (שם):
17When he came to him, he was standing next to his burnt offering, and the Moabite dignitaries were with him, and Balak said to him, "What did the Lord speak?"   יזוַיָּבֹ֣א אֵלָ֗יו וְהִנּ֤וֹ נִצָּב֙ עַל־עֹ֣לָת֔וֹ וְשָׂרֵ֥י מוֹאָ֖ב אִתּ֑וֹ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ בָּלָ֔ק מַה־דִּבֶּ֖ר יְהֹוָֽה:
and the Moabite dignitaries were with him: Above (verse 6) it says, “all the Moabite dignitaries.” However, since they saw that there was no hope, some of them left, and only some of them remained. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   וְשָׂרֵי מוֹאָב אִתּוֹ: וּלְמַעְלָה הוּא אוֹמֵר "וְכָל שָׂרֵי מוֹאָב", כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ תִקְוָה הָלְכוּ לָהֶם מִקְצָתָם וְלֹא נִשְׁאֲרוּ אֶלָּא מִקְצָתָם:
What did the Lord speak?: This is an expression denoting derision, as if to say, You are not your own master. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   מַה־דִּבֶּר ה': לְשׁוֹן צְחוֹק הוּא זֶה, כְּלוֹמַר אֵינְךָ בִרְשׁוּתְךָ (שם):
18He took up his parable and said, "Arise, Balak, and hear; listen closely to me, son of Zippor.   יחוַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר ק֤וּם בָּלָק֙ וּֽשֲׁמָ֔ע הַֽאֲזִ֥ינָה עָדַ֖י בְּנ֥וֹ צִפֹּֽר:
Arise, Balak: Since he saw that he was mocking him, he intended to taunt him, “Stand on your feet; you have no right to sit, for I have been sent to you as an emissary of the Omnipresent!” - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   קוּם בָּלָק: כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָהוּ מְצַחֵק בּוֹ, נִתְכַּוֵּן לְצַעֲרוֹ — "עֲמֹד עַל רַגְלֶיךָ, אֵינְךָ רַשַּׁאי לֵישֵׁב, וַאֲנִי שָׁלוּחַ אֵלֶיךָ בִשְׁלִיחוּתוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם" (שם):
son of Zippor: Heb. בְּנו ֹצִפֹּר. This [use of the ‘vav’ as a suffix to denote the construct form] is biblical style, as in, “beasts (חַיְתוֹ) of the forest” (Ps. 104:20); “beasts (וְחַיְתוֹ) of the earth” (Gen. 1:24); “to a spring (לְמַעְיְנוֹ) of water” (Ps. 114:8).   בְּנוֹ צִפֹּֽר: לְשׁוֹן מִקְרָא הוּא זֶה, כְּמוֹ "חַיְתוֹ יָעַר" (תהלים נ') "וְחַיְתוֹ אֶרֶץ" (בראשית א'), "לְמַעְיְנוֹ מָיִם" (תהילים קי"ד):
19God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?   יטלֹ֣א אִ֥ישׁ אֵל֙ וִֽיכַזֵּ֔ב וּבֶן־אָדָ֖ם וְיִתְנֶחָ֑ם הַה֤וּא אָמַר֙ וְלֹ֣א יַֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְדִבֶּ֖ר וְלֹ֥א יְקִימֶֽנָּה:
God is not a man that He should lie: He has already promised them to bring them to and give them possession of the land of the seven nations, and you expect to kill them in the desert?- [See Mid. Tanchuma Mass’ei 7, Num. Rabbah 23:8]   לֹא אִישׁ וגו': כְּבָר נִשְׁבַּע לָהֶם לַהֲבִיאָם וּלְהוֹרִישָׁם אֶרֶץ שִׁבְעָה אֻמּוֹת וְאַתָּה סָבוּר לַהֲמִיתָם בַּמִּדְבָּר?:
Would He say…: Heb. הַהוּא. This is in the form of a question. And the Targum [Onkelos] renders, “who later relent.” They reconsider and change their minds.   הַהוּא אָמַר וגו': בִּלְשׁוֹן תֵּמַהּ, וְתַרְגּוּמוֹ וְתָיְבִין וּמִתְמַלְּכִין — חוֹזְרִים וְנִמְלָכִין לַחֲזֹר בָּהֶם:
20I have received [an instruction] to bless, and He has blessed, and I cannot retract it.   כהִנֵּ֥ה בָרֵ֖ךְ לָקָ֑חְתִּי וּבֵרֵ֖ךְ וְלֹ֥א אֲשִׁיבֶֽנָּה:
I have received [instruction] to bless: You ask me, What did God speak? [My answer is] I received from Him [instruction] to bless them.   הִנֵּה בָרֵךְ לָקָחְתִּי: אַתָּה שׁוֹאֲלֵנִי "מַה דִּבֶּר ה'?", קִבַּלְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ לְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָם:
and He has blessed, and I cannot retract it: He has blessed them, and I will not retract His blessing.   וּבֵרֵךְ וְלֹא אֲשִׁיבֶֽנָּה: הוּא בֵּרֵךְ אוֹתָם וַאֲנִי לֹא אָשִׁיב אֶת בִּרְכָתוֹ:
and He has blessed: Heb. וּבֵרךְ‏, like ‏ֵוּבֵרךְ‏. This is the rule of the letter ‘reish’ as in אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף (Ps. 74:18), like חִרֵף and similarly, וּבֹצֵע בֵּרךְ‏ (ibid. 10:3)-one who praises and blesses the thief, saying, “Do not be afraid because you will not be punished; you will be all right,” angers the Holy One, blessed is He. But one cannot say that ‏ֵוּבֵרךְ‏ is a noun, for if so, it would be punctuated with a short ‘pathach’ [’segol’] and the accent would be on the first syllable וּבֵרךְ‏. However, since it is a verb in the active form, it is punctuated with a short ‘kamatz’ [’tzeireh’], and the accent is on the last syllable.   וּבֵרֵךְ: כְּמוֹ וּבִרֵּךְ, וְכֵן הִיא גִזְרַת רֵי"ש, כְּמוֹ (תהלים ע"ד) "אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף" כְּמוֹ חִרֵּף, וְכֵן (שם מ') "וּבֹצֵעַ בֵּרֵךְ" — הַמְהַלֵּל וּמְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַגּוֹזֵל וְאוֹמֵר אַל תִּירָא כִּי לֹא תֵעָנֵשׁ, שָׁלוֹם יִהְיֶה לְךָ, מַרְגִּיז הוּא לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא; וְאֵין לוֹמַר ברך שֵׁם דָּבָר, שֶׁאִם כֵּן הָיָה נָקוּד בְּפַתָּ"ח קָטָן וְטַעְמוֹ לְמַעְלָה, אֲבָל לְפִי שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן פִּעֵל, הוּא נָקוּד קָמָץ קָטָן וְטַעְמוֹ לְמַטָּה:
21He does not look at evil in Jacob, and has seen no perversity in Israel; the Lord, his God, is with him, and he has the King's friendship.   כאלֹֽא־הִבִּ֥יט אָ֨וֶן֙ בְּיַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וְלֹֽא־רָאָ֥ה עָמָ֖ל בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וּתְרוּעַ֥ת מֶ֖לֶךְ בּֽוֹ:
He does not look at evil in Jacob: According to the Targum [Onkelos it means: I have looked. There are no idol worshippers in Jacob]. Another interpretation: Its literal meaning can be expounded beautifully. The Holy One, blessed is He, does not look at evil in Jacob. When they transgress His word, He does not deal punctiliously with them to scrutinize their wicked deeds and their iniquity in violation of His law. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   לֹֽא־הִבִּיט אָוֶן בְּיַֽעֲקֹב וגו': כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ; דָּבָר אַחֵר אַחֲרֵי פְשׁוּטוֹ הוּא נִדְרָשׁ מִדְרָשׁ נָאֶה לֹֽא־הִבִּיט הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא און שֶׁבְּיַעֲקֹב — כְּשֶׁהֵן עוֹבְרִין עַל דְּבָרָיו אֵינוֹ מְדַקְדֵּק אַחֲרֵיהֶם לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בְּאוֹנִיּוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם וַעֲמָלָן שֶׁהֵן עוֹבְרִין עַל דָּתוֹ —
perversity: Heb. עָמָל connotes transgression, as in “conceives mischief (עָמָל)” (Ps. 7:15) [and as in] “For You look at mischief (עָמָל) and provocation” (ibid. 10:14), since a transgression is distressing for the Omnipresent [and עָמָל primarily means hardship and toil].   עָמָל: לְשׁוֹן עֲבֵרָה, כְּמוֹ "וְהָרָה עָמָל" (תהלים ז'), "כִּי אַתָּה עָמָל וָכַעַס תַּבִּיט" (שם י'), לְפִי שֶׁהָעֲבֵרָה הִיא עָמָל לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם:
the Lord, his God, is with him: Even if they anger Him and rebel against Him, He does not move from their midst.   ה' אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ: אֲפִלּוּ מַכְעִיסִין וּמַמְרִים לְפָנָיו, אֵינוֹ זָז מִתּוֹכָן:
and he has the King’s friendship: וּתְרוּעַת, an expression denoting love and friendship, as in, “the friend of (רֵעֶה) David” (II Sam. 15:37), and in “and has given her to his companion (לְמֵרֵעֵהוּ)” (Jud. 15:6). Similarly, Onkelos renders, “the Presence of their King is among them.”   וּתְרוּעַת מֶלֶךְ בּֽוֹ: לְשׁוֹן חִבָּה וְרֵעוּת, כְּמוֹ (שמואל ב ט"ו) "רֵעֶה דָּוִד" — אוֹהֵב דָּוִד, (שופטים ט"ו) "וַיִּתְּנָהּ לְמֵרֵעֵהוּ", וְכֵן תִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס "וּשְׁכִינַת מַלְכְּהוֹן בֵּינֵהוֹן":
22God has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness.   כבאֵ֖ל מֽוֹצִיאָ֣ם מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם כְּתֽוֹעֲפֹ֥ת רְאֵ֖ם לֽוֹ:
God has brought them out of Egypt: You said, “Behold the people coming out of Egypt” (22:11). They did not come out by themselves, but God brought them out. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   אֵל מֽוֹצִיאָם מִמִּצְרָיִם: אַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ "הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם", לֹא יָצָא מֵעַצְמוֹ, אֶלָּא הָאֱלֹהִים הוֹצִיאָם:
with the strength of His loftiness: Heb. כְּתוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם, in accordance with the power of His loftiness (רוּם) and height. Similarly, “and… abundant silver (תּוֹעָפוֹת)” (Job 22:25); they are terms denoting strength. I maintain that it תּוֹעֲפוֹת is a term cognate with [a similar word in the phrase] “and let the birds fly (יְעוֹפֵף)” (Gen. 1:20) [which denotes] something flying to lofty heights, expressing great power. Thus, כְּתוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם means flying high. Another interpretation: כְּתוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם means the power of 're’emim’ and our Rabbis say (Git. 68b) that this refers to demons.   כְּתֽוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם לֽוֹ: כְּתֹקֶף רוּם וְגֹבַהּ שֶׁלּוֹ, וְכֵן "וְכֶסֶף תּוֹעָפוֹת" (איוב כ"ב) לְשׁוֹן מָעוֹז הֵמָּה, וְאוֹמֵר אֲנִי שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן "וְעוֹף יְעוֹפֵף" (בראשית א') — הַמְעוֹפֵף בְּרוּם וְגֹבַהּ, תֹקֶף רַב הוּא זֶה, וְתוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם — עֲפִיפַת גֹּבַהּ; דָּבָר אַחֵר, תּוֹעֲפוֹת רְאֵם — תֹּקֶף רְאֵמִים, וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ אֵלּוּ הַשֵּׁדִים (עי' גיטין ס"ח):
23For there is no divination in Jacob and no soothsaying in Israel. In time it will be said to Jacob and Israel, 'What has God wrought?'   כגכִּ֤י לֹא־נַ֨חַשׁ֙ בְּיַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וְלֹא־קֶ֖סֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כָּעֵ֗ת יֵֽאָמֵ֤ר לְיַֽעֲקֹב֙ וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מַה־פָּעַ֖ל אֵֽל:
For there is no divination in Jacob: They are worthy of blessing since there are no diviners or soothsayers among them.   כִּי לֹא־נַחַשׁ בְּיַֽעֲקֹב: כִּי רְאוּיִים הֵם לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶם מְנַחֲשִׁים וְקוֹסְמִים:
In time it will be said to Jacob and Israel: There will come another time like this, when the love [God has] for them will be revealed to all, for they will be seated before Him and learn Torah from His mouth. Their place will be further in [closer to the Divine Presence] than the ministering angels. They will ask them, “What has God wrought?” This is the meaning of what is stated, “your eyes shall behold your Teacher” (Isa. 30:20). Another interpretation: [The phrase] יֵאָמֵר לְיַעֲקֹב is not in the future tense [“it shall be said to Jacob”] but in the present tense. [Thus, the meaning is:] They have no need for a diviner or sorcerer, for any time it is necessary to tell Jacob and Israel what God has wrought and what decrees He enacted on high, they do not need diviners or soothsayers, but the decrees of the Omnipresent are transmitted to them through their prophets, or the Urim and Tummim inform them [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20]. Onkelos, however, does not render [it in] this manner.[Onkelos renders: For the diviners do not wish that good should be bestowed upon Jacob, nor do soothsayers desire the greatness of Israel. At this time, it will be told to Jacob what God has wrought.]   כָּעֵת יֵֽאָמֵר לְיַֽעֲקֹב וגו': עוֹד עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת עֵת כָּעֵת הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר תִּגָּלֶה חִבָּתָן לְעֵין כֹּל, שֶׁהֵן יוֹשְׁבִין לְפָנָיו וּלְמֵדִים תּוֹרָה מִפִּיו וּמְחִצָּתָן לִפְנִים מִמַּלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת וְהֵם יִשְׁאֲלוּ לָהֶם מה פעל אל? וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיהו ל') "וְהָיוּ עֵינֶיךָ רֹאוֹת אֶת מוֹרֶיךָ". דָּבָר אַחֵר — יאמר ליעקב אֵינוֹ לְשׁוֹן עָתִיד אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן הֹוֶה, אֵינָן צְרִיכִין לִמְנַחֵשׁ וְקוֹסֵם, כִּי בְכָל עֵת שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהֵאָמֵר לְיַעֲקֹב וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל מַה פָּעַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּמַה גְּזֵרוֹתָיו בַּמָּרוֹם, אֵינָן מְנַחֲשִׁים וְקוֹסְמִים אֶלָּא נֶאֱמַר לָהֶם עַל פִּי נְבִיאֵיהֶם מַה הִיא גְזֵרַת הַמָּקוֹם, אוֹ אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים מַגִּידִים לָהֶם (תנחומא); וְאֻנְקְלוֹס לֹא תִרְגֵּם כֵּן:
24Behold, a people that rises like a lioness and raises itself like a lion. It does not lie down until it eats its prey and drinks the blood of the slain."   כדהֶן־עָם֙ כְּלָבִ֣יא יָק֔וּם וְכַֽאֲרִ֖י יִתְנַשָּׂ֑א לֹ֤א יִשְׁכַּב֙ עַד־יֹ֣אכַל טֶ֔רֶף וְדַם־חֲלָלִ֖ים יִשְׁתֶּֽה:
Behold, a people that rises like a lioness: When they awaken from their sleep in the morning they show the vigor of a lioness and a lion in grasping mitzvoth, to don a ‘tallith ’ [prayer shawl], recite the shema and put on ‘tefillin’ [phylacteries]. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   הֶן־עָם כְּלָבִיא יָקוּם וגו': כְּשֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין מִשְּׁנָתָם שַׁחֲרִית, הֵן מִתְגַּבְּרִין כְּלָבִיא וְכַאֲרִי לַחֲטֹף אֶת הַמִּצְוֹת — לִלְבֹּשׁ טַלִּית, לִקְרֹא אֶת שְׁמַע וּלְהָנִיחַ תְּפִלִּין:
It does not lie down: [I.e., a Jew does not lie down] on his bed at night until he consumes and destroys any harmful thing that comes to tear him. How so? He recites the shema on his bed and entrusts his spirit to the hand of the Omnipresent. Should an army or a troop come to harm them, the Holy One, blessed is He, protects them, fights their battles and strikes them [their attackers] down dead.[Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20] Another interpretation: “Behold a people that rises like a lioness…” as the Targum [Onkelos] renders [it: namely, It will not settle in its land until it destroys (the enemy) and takes possession of the land of the nations].   לֹא יִשְׁכַּב: בַּלַּיְלָה עַל מִטָּתוֹ עַד שֶׁהוּא אוֹכֵל וּמְחַבֵּל כָּל מַזִּיק הַבָּא לְטָרְפוֹ, כֵּיצַד? קוֹרֵא אֶת שְׁמַע עַל מִטָּתוֹ וּמַפְקִיד רוּחוֹ בְּיַד הַמָּקוֹם, בָּא מַחֲנֶה וְגַיִס לְהַזִּיקָם, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שׁוֹמְרָם וְנִלְחָם מִלְחֲמוֹתָם וּמַפִּילָם חֲלָלִים (שם); דָּבָר אַחֵר — הן עם כלביא יקום וגו', כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
and drinks the blood of the slain: He prophesied that Moses would not die until he would strike down the Midianite kings dead, and he [Balaam] would be slain with them, as it says, “Balaam the son of Beor the soothsayer did the children of Israel slay with the sword with those that were slain by them” (Josh. 13:22). - [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 14, Num. Rabbah 20:20]   וְדַם־חֲלָלִים יִשְׁתֶּֽה: נִתְנַבֵּא שֶׁאֵין מֹשֶׁה מֵת עַד שֶׁיַּפִּיל מַלְכֵי מִדְיָן חֲלָלִים וְיֵהָרֵג הוּא עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע י"ג) "וְאֶת בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר הַקּוֹסֵם הָרְגוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּחֶרֶב אֶל חַלְלֵיהֶם" (עי' תנחומא):
25Balak said to Balaam, "You shall neither curse them nor shall you bless them."   כהוַיֹּ֤אמֶר בָּלָק֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם גַּם־קֹ֖ב לֹ֣א תִקֳּבֶ֑נּוּ גַּם־בָּרֵ֖ךְ לֹ֥א תְבָֽרֲכֶֽנּוּ:
You shall neither curse them nor shall you bless them: The first גַּם [literally, also, in the clause, “You shall neither…”] adds something to the second גַּם [in the clause “nor shall you curse”] and the second גַּם adds something to the first גַּם [as if he said, Neither bless them nor curse them; neither curse them nor bless them]. Similarly, “It shall be neither mine (גַּם לִי) nor yours (גַּם לָךְ‏ְ)” (I Kings 3:26) and similarly, “both the youth (גַּם בָּחוּר) and the maiden (גַּם בְּתוּלָה)” (Deut. 32:25).   גַּם־קֹב לֹא תִקֳּבֶנּוּ: גַם רִאשׁוֹן מוֹסִיף עַל גַּם הַשֵּׁנִי וְגַם הַשֵּׁנִי עַל גַּם רִאשׁוֹן, וְכֵן "גַּם לִי גַם לָךְ לֹא יִהְיֶה" (מלכים א ג'), וְכֵן "גַּם בָּחוּר גַּם בְּתוּלָה" (דברים ל"ב):
26Balaam answered and said to Balak, "Have I not spoken to you, saying, 'Everything the Lord speaks that I shall do."   כווַיַּ֣עַן בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֶל־בָּלָ֑ק הֲלֹ֗א דִּבַּ֤רְתִּי אֵלֶ֨יךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־יְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֹת֥וֹ אֶֽעֱשֶֽׂה:

Sixth Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 23

27Balak said to Balaam, "Come now, I will take you to a different place. Perhaps it will please God, and you will curse them for me from there.   כז וַיֹּ֤אמֶר בָּלָק֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם לְכָה־נָּא֙ אֶקָּ֣חֲךָ֔ אֶל־מָק֖וֹם אַחֵ֑ר אוּלַ֤י יִישַׁר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְקַבֹּ֥תוֹ לִ֖י מִשָּֽׁם:
so that you will curse them for me: Heb. וְקַבֹּתוֹ. This is not in the imperative like “curse them” (וְקָבְנוֹ, in verse 13), but the future tense: it will please God and you will curse them for me from there, maldiras in old French, you will curse.   וְקַבֹּתוֹ לִי: אֵין זֶה לְשׁוֹן צִוּוּי כְּמוֹ וְקָבְנוֹ, אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן עָתִיד — אוּלַי יִישַׁר בְּעֵינָיו וְתִקָּבֶנּוּ לִי מִשָּׁם, מלדי"רש בְּלַעַז:
28So Balak took Balaam to the peak of Peor, overlooking the wastelands.   כחוַיִּקַּ֥ח בָּלָ֖ק אֶת־בִּלְעָ֑ם רֹ֣אשׁ הַפְּע֔וֹר הַנִּשְׁקָ֖ף עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַיְשִׁימֹֽן:
to the peak of Peor: Balak was a great soothsayer, and he foresaw that they were destined to be smitten through Peor, but he did not know in what way. He said, “Perhaps the curse will take effect on them from there.” It is much the same with all the stargazers; they see things, but they do not know what they are seeing. — [Mid. Aggadah]   רֹאשׁ הַפְּעוֹר: קוֹסֵם גָּדוֹל הָיָה בָלָק וְרָאָה שֶׁהֵן עֲתִידִין לִלְקוֹת עַל יְדֵי פְעוֹר, וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ בַּמֶּה, אָמַר שֶׁמָּא הַקְּלָלָה תָחוּל עֲלֵיהֶם מִשָּׁם וְכֵן כָּל הַחוֹזִים בַּכּוֹכָבִים רוֹאִים וְאֵינָם יוֹדְעִים מָה רוֹאִים (סוטה י"ב):
29Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams.   כטוַיֹּ֤אמֶר בִּלְעָם֙ אֶל־בָּלָ֔ק בְּנֵה־לִ֥י בָזֶ֖ה שִׁבְעָ֣ה מִזְבְּחֹ֑ת וְהָכֵ֥ן לִי֙ בָּזֶ֔ה שִׁבְעָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים וְשִׁבְעָ֥ה אֵילִֽם:
30Balak did as Balaam told him, and offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.   לוַיַּ֣עַשׂ בָּלָ֔ק כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֖ר אָמַ֣ר בִּלְעָ֑ם וַיַּ֛עַל פָּ֥ר וָאַ֖יִל בַּמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 24

1Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel; so he did not go in search of omens as he had done time and time again, but turned his face toward the desert.   אוַיַּ֣רְא בִּלְעָ֗ם כִּ֣י ט֞וֹב בְּעֵינֵ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ לְבָרֵ֣ךְ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְלֹֽא־הָלַ֥ךְ כְּפַֽעַם־בְּפַ֖עַם לִקְרַ֣את נְחָשִׁ֑ים וַיָּ֥שֶׁת אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר פָּנָֽיו:
Balaam saw that it pleased: He said, “I no longer have to test the Holy One, blessed is He, for He will not want to curse them.”   וַיַּרְא בִּלְעָם כִּי טוֹב וגו': אָמַר אֵינִי צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק עוֹד בְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, כִּי לֹא יַחְפֹּץ לְקַלְּלָם:
so he did not go… as he had done time and time again: As he had done twice - [Mid. Aggadah]   לא הָלַךְ כְּפַֽעַם־בְּפַעַם: כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים:
in search of omens: To divine that perhaps God would chance to meet him as he wished. He said, “Whether He wishes to curse them or not, I will mention their sins so that on the mention of their sins the curse can take effect.” - [Mid. Aggadah]   לִקְרַאת נְחָשִׁים: לְנַחֵשׁ אוּלַי יִקָּרֶה ה' לִקְרָתוֹ כִּרְצוֹנוֹ, אָמַר רוֹצֶה וְלֹא רוֹצֶה לְקַלְּלָם, אַזְכִּיר עֲוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם, וְהַקְּלָלָה עַל הַזְכָּרַת עֲוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם תָּחוּל:
but turned his face toward the desert: As the Targum paraphrases [“He directed his face toward the desert, where the Israelites had made the golden calf,” or “He directed his face toward the golden calf, which the Israelites had made in the desert.” See Ramban, Midrash Aggadah, Mechokekei Yehudah (Minchath Yehudah, fn. 1)].   וַיָּשֶׁת אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּר פָּנָֽיו: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
2Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel dwelling according to its tribes, and the spirit of God rested upon him.   בוַיִּשָּׂ֨א בִלְעָ֜ם אֶת־עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שֹׁכֵ֖ן לִשְׁבָטָ֑יו וַתְּהִ֥י עָלָ֖יו ר֥וּחַ אֱלֹהִֽים:
Balaam raised his eyes: He sought to cast an evil eye upon them, so here you have his three attributes: an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and greed mentioned above (22:13, 18). - [Avoth 5:19, Mid. Tanchuma Balak 6, Num. Rabbah 20:10]   וַיִּשָּׂא בִלְעָם אֶת־עֵינָיו: בִּקֵּשׁ לְהַכְנִיס בָּהֶם עַיִן רָעָה, וַהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לְךָ שָׁלֹשׁ מִדּוֹתָיו — עַיִן רָעָה וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה הָאֲמוּרִים לְמַעְלָה:
dwelling according to its tribes: He saw each tribe dwelling by itself, not intermingling [with other tribes], and he saw that the openings of their tents did not face each other, so that they should not peer into each other’s tents. — [B.B. 60a, Mid. Aggadah]   שֹׁכֵן לִשְׁבָטָיו: רָאָה כָל שֵׁבֶט וְשֵׁבֶט שׁוֹכֵן לְעַצְמוֹ וְאֵינָן מְעֹרָבִין, רָאָה שֶׁאֵין פִּתְחֵיהֶם מְכֻוָּנִין זֶה כְנֶגֶד זֶה, שֶׁלֹּא יָצִיץ לְתוֹךְ אֹהֶל חֲבֵרוֹ:
and the spirit of God rested upon him: It entered his mind not to curse them.   וַתְּהִי עָלָיו רוּחַ אֱלֹהִֽים: עָלָה בְלִבּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יְקַלְּלֵם:
3He took up his parable and said, "The word of Balaam the son of Beor and the word of the man with an open eye.   גוַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר נְאֻ֤ם בִּלְעָם֙ בְּנ֣וֹ בְעֹ֔ר וּנְאֻ֥ם הַגֶּ֖בֶר שְׁתֻ֥ם הָעָֽיִן:
the son of Beor: Heb. בְּנוֹ בְעֹר, lit., his son was Beor. [However, the word בְּנוֹ is used here] as in “to a spring לְמַעְיְנוֹ of water” (Ps. 114:8) [see Rashi 23:18]. The Midrash Aggadah expounds: Both were greater than their fathers; Balak, his son was Zippor, for his [Balak’s] father was his son, as it were, with regard to royalty. And Balaam was greater than his father in prophecy; he was a maneh [a coin equaling one hundred zuz] the son of a peras [a coin equaling fifty zuz, half the value of a maneh]. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 13, Sanh. 105a]   בְּנוֹ בְעֹר: כְּמוֹ "לְמַעְיְנוֹ מָיִם" (תהלים קי"ד); וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה שְׁנֵיהֶם הָיוּ גְדוֹלִים מֵאֲבוֹתֵיהֶם, בָּלָק בְּנוֹ צִפּוֹר — אָבִיו בְּנוֹ הוּא בְמַלְכוּת, וּבִלְעָם גָּדוֹל מֵאָבִיו בִּנְבִיאוּת — מָנֶה בֶן פְּרָס הָיָה (סנהדרין ק"ה; תנחומא):
with an open eye: Heb. שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן. His eye had been gouged out and its socket appeared open. This term שְׁתֻם is mishnaic; “enough time to bore a hole (יִשְׁתֹּם) [in a cask], seal it, and dry it” (A.Z. 69a). Our Rabbis said, Because he said, “the number of the seed of Israel” (23:10), implying that the Holy One, blessed is He, sits and counts the seed that issues from the Israelite sexual unions, waiting for the drop from which a righteous man will be born, he thought, “The One Who is holy, and Whose ministers are holy should direct His attention to matters such as these?” On account of this, Balaam’s eye was blinded (Mid. Aggadah). Some say that the phrase means “of the open eye,” [meaning of clear sight], as Onkelos renders. As for its saying, “with an open eye” rather than “with open eyes,” this teaches us that he was blind in one eye. — [Sanh. 105a]   שְׁתֻם הָעָֽיִן: עֵינוֹ נְקוּרָה וּמוּצֵאת לַחוּץ וְחֹר שֶׁלָּהּ נִרְאֶה פָתוּחַ, וּלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה הוּא, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִשְׁתֹּם וְיִסְתֹּם וְיִגֹּב (עבודה זרה ס"ט); וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ אָמְרוּ, לְפִי שֶׁאָמַר וּמִסְפָּר אֶת רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל — שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יוֹשֵׁב וּמוֹנֶה רְבִיעוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל, מָתַי תָּבֹא טִפָּה שֶׁנּוֹלַד הַצַּדִּיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ, מִי שֶׁהוּא קָדוֹשׁ וּמְשָׁרְתָיו קְדוֹשִׁים יִסְתַּכֵּל בִּדְבָרִים הַלָּלוּ? וְעַל דָּבָר זֶה נִסְמַת עֵינוֹ שֶׁל בִּלְעָם (נדה ל"א); וְיֵשׁ מְפָרְשִׁים שתם העין — פְּתוּחַ הָעַיִן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁתִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס, וְעַל שֶׁאָמַר שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן וְלֹא אָמַר שְׁתוּם הָעֵינַיִם, לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁסּוּמָא בְאַחַת מֵעֵינָיו הָיָה (סנהדרין ק"ה):
4The word of the one who hears God's sayings, who sees the vision of the Almighty, fallen yet with open eyes.   דנְאֻ֕ם שֹׁמֵ֖עַ אִמְרֵי־אֵ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֨ר מַֽחֲזֵ֤ה שַׁדַּי֙ יֶֽחֱזֶ֔ה נֹפֵ֖ל וּגְל֥וּי עֵינָֽיִם:
fallen yet with open eyes: The plain meaning is as understood by the Targum [Onkelos], that He appeared to him only at night, while he was lying down. The Midrashic explanation is that when He appeared to him, he had no strength to stand on his feet, so he fell on his face, for since he was uncircumcised, it was a disgrace to appear before Him while he was standing upright in His presence. — [Mid. Aggadah]   נֹפֵל וּגְלוּי עֵינָֽיִם: פְּשׁוּטוֹ כְתַרְגּוּמוֹ — שֶׁאֵין נִרְאֶה עָלָיו אֶלָּא בַּלַּיְלָה כְּשֶׁהוּא שׁוֹכֵב; וּמִדְרָשׁוֹ: כְּשֶׁהָיָה נִגְלֶה עָלָיו לֹא הָיָה בוֹ כֹּחַ לַעֲמֹד עַל רַגְלָיו וְנוֹפֵל עַל פָּנָיו, לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה עָרֵל, וּמָאוּס לִהְיוֹת נִגְלֶה עָלָיו בְּקוֹמָה זְקוּפָה לְפָנָיו:
5How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!   המַה־טֹּ֥בוּ אֹֽהָלֶ֖יךָ יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶ֖יךָ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
How goodly are your tents: For he saw that the entrances were not facing each other. — [B.B. 60a]   מַה־טֹּבוּ אֹֽהָלֶיךָ: עַל שֶׁרָאָה פִתְחֵיהֶם שֶׁאֵינָן מְכֻוָּנִין זֶה מוּל זֶה:
your dwelling places: Your encampments, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders. Another explanation: “How goodly are your tents”-How goodly are the tent of Shiloh and the eternal Temple when they are inhabited, for offerings are brought up in them to atone for you."   מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ: חֲנִיּוֹתֶיךָ, כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ; דָּבָר אַחֵר, מה טבו אהליך — מַה טֹּבוּ אֹהֶל שִׁילֹה וּבֵית עוֹלָמִים בְּיִשּׁוּבָן, שֶׁמַּקְרִיבִין בָּהֶן קָרְבָּנוֹת לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם:
your dwelling places: Heb. מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶי, even when they are desolate, for they are held as a pledge (מַשְׁכּוֹן) for you, and their desolate state atones for your souls, as it says, “The Lord has spent His fury” (Lam. 4:11). How did He spend it? “He has kindled a fire in Zion” (ibid.) - [See Mid. Tanchuma Pekudei 4]   מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ: אַף כְּשֶׁהֵן חֲרֵבִין, לְפִי שֶׁהֵן מַשְׁכּוֹן עֲלֵיכֶם, וְחֻרְבָּנָן כַּפָּרָה עַל הַנְּפָשׁוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "כִּלָּה ה' אֶת חֲמָתוֹ" (איכה ד'), וּבַמֶּה כִלָּה? (שם) "וַיַּצֶּת אֵשׁ בְּצִיּוֹן" (תנחומא משפטים):
6They extend like streams, like gardens by the river, like aloes which the Lord planted, like cedars by the water.   וכִּנְחָלִ֣ים נִטָּ֔יוּ כְּגַנֹּ֖ת עֲלֵ֣י נָהָ֑ר כַּֽאֲהָלִים֙ נָטַ֣ע יְהֹוָ֔ה כַּֽאֲרָזִ֖ים עֲלֵי־מָֽיִם:
They extend like streams: They extend and are drawn out for a distance. Our Rabbis said: From this wicked man’s blessings we can determine how he intended to curse them when he decided to turn his face toward the desert. For when the Omnipresent reversed [the words of] his mouth, he blessed them in a way corresponding to the curses he intended to say…, as is stated in [the chapter of] Cheilek (Sanh. 105b).   כִּנְחָלִים נִטָּיוּ: שֶׁנֶּאֶרְכוּ וְנִמְשְׁכוּ לִנְטוֹת לְמֵרָחוֹק; אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ מִבִּרְכוֹתָיו שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע אָנוּ לְמֵדִים מֶה הָיָה בְלִבּוֹ לְקַלְּלָם כְּשֶׁאָמַר לְהָשִׁית אֶל הַמִּדְבָּר פָּנָיו, וּכְשֶׁהָפַךְ הַמָּקוֹם אֶת פִּיו, בֵּרְכָם מֵעֵין אוֹתָם קְלָלוֹת שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לוֹמַר כו', כִּדְאִיתָא בְחֵלֶק (סנהדרין ק"ח):
like aloes: Heb. כַּאִהָלִים, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders, [aromatic plants], as in the expression as, “myrrh and aloes (וַאֲהָלוּת)” (Song 4:14).   כַּֽאֲהָלִים: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, לְשׁוֹן "מֹר וַאֲהָלוֹת" (תהלים מ"ה):
which the Lord planted: in the Garden of Eden. Another interpretation: Like the firmament which is stretched out like a tent (אֹהֶל) as it says, “and he spread them out like a tent (כָּאֹהֶל) to dwell in” (Is. 40:22) (Targum Jonathan and Yerushalmi). (This interpretation is incorrect because, if so, it would have been vowelized כְּאֹהָלִים, with a cholam. - This is obviously a copyist’s comment, because Rashi proceeds to defend this interpretation. Editor’s note)   נָטַע ה': בְּגַן עֵדֶן; לָשׁוֹן אַחֵר כאהלים נטע ה' — כַּשָּׁמַיִם הַמְּתוּחִין כְּאֹהֶל:
which the Lord planted: We find the expression ‘planting’ in relation to tents, as it says, “And he will pitch (וַיִטַּע) his palatial tents” (Dan. 11:45).   נָטַע ה': לְשׁוֹן נְטִיעָה מָצִינוּ בְאֹהָלִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְיִטַּע אָהֳלֵי אַפַּדְנוֹ" (דניאל י"א):
7Water will flow from his wells, and his seed shall have abundant water; his king shall be raised over Agag, and his kingship exalted.   זיִזַּל־מַ֨יִם֙ מִדָּ֣לְיָ֔ו וְזַרְע֖וֹ בְּמַ֣יִם רַבִּ֑ים וְיָרֹ֤ם מֵֽאֲגַג֙ מַלְכּ֔וֹ וְתִנַּשֵּׂ֖א מַלְכֻתֽוֹ:
from his wells: Heb. מִדָּלְיָו, from his wells; the meaning is as the Targum [Onkelos interprets it, namely, “the king anointed from his sons shall be great.”]   מִדָּלְיָו: מִבְּאֵרוֹתָיו, וּפֵרוּשׁוֹ כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
and his seed shall have abundant water: This expression denotes prosperity, like seed [which flourishes when] planted close to water.   וְזַרְעוֹ בְּמַיִם רַבִּים: לְשׁוֹן הַצְלָחָה הוּא זֶה — כְּזֶרַע הַזָּרוּעַ עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם:
His king shall be raised over Agag: Their first king [Saul] will capture Agag, king of Amalek. — [Mid. Aggadah]   וְיָרֹם מֵֽאֲגַג מַלְכּוֹ: מֶלֶךְ רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁלָּהֶם יִכְבֹּשׁ אֶת אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק:
and his kingship exalted: [The kingship of Jacob] will become greater and greater, for following him [Saul] will come David and Solomon. — [Mid. Aggadah]   וְתִנַּשֵּׂא מַלְכֻתֽוֹ: שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב יוֹתֵר וְיוֹתֵר, שֶׁיָּבֹא אַחֲרָיו דָּוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה:
8God, Who has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness He shall consume the nations which are his adversaries, bare their bones and dip His arrows [into their blood].   חאֵ֚ל מֽוֹצִיא֣וֹ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם כְּתֽוֹעֲפֹ֥ת רְאֵ֖ם ל֑וֹ יֹאכַ֞ל גּוֹיִ֣ם צָרָ֗יו וְעַצְמֹֽתֵיהֶ֛ם יְגָרֵ֖ם וְחִצָּ֥יו יִמְחָֽץ:
God, Who has brought them out of Egypt: Who caused them all this greatness? God, Who brought them out of Egypt with His power and loftiness. He will consume the nations who are his adversaries.   אֵל מֽוֹצִיאוֹ מִמִּצְרַיִם: מִי גוֹרֵם לָהֶם הַגְּדֻלָּה הַזֹּאת? אֵל הַמּוֹצִיאָם מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּתֹקֶף וְרוּם שֶׁלּוֹ, יֹאכַל אֶת הַגּוֹיִם שֶׁהֵם צָרָיו:
their bones: of these adversaries.   וְעַצְמֹֽתֵיהֶם: שֶׁל צָרִים:
bare: Heb. יְגָרֵם. Menachem (Machbereth p. 59) interprets this word as ‘breaking up.’ Similarly, “They [the wolves] did not gnaw the (גָרְמוּ) [bones] in the morning” (Zeph. 3:3), and similarly, “its shards you shall break (תְּגָרֵמִי)” (Ezek. 23:34). I, however, maintain that it means ‘bone,’ [and the meaning is:] He strips the surrounding flesh with his teeth and the marrow from within, leaving the bone in its bare state.   יְגָרֵם: מְנַחֵם פָּתַר בּוֹ לְשׁוֹן שְׁבִירָה, וְכֵן "לֹא גָרְמוּ לַבֹּקֶר" (צפניה ג'), וְכֵן "וְאֶת חֲרָשֶׂיהָ תְּגָרֵמִי" (יחזקאל כ"ג), וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר לְשׁוֹן עֶצֶם הוּא, שֶׁמְּגָרֵר הַבָּשָׂר בְּשִׁנָּיו מִסָּבִיב, וְהַמֹּחַ שֶׁבִּפְנִים, וּמַעֲמִיד הָעֶצֶם עַל עַרְמִימוּתוֹ:
and dip His arrows: חִצָּיו יִמְחָץ. Onkelos interprets it as referring to the half of the adversaries- [that is,] their part, as in, בַּעֲלֵי חִצִּים (Gen. 49:23) [which the Targum renders as] “those who should take half.” So [according to the Targum] the יִמְחָץ is [used here] as in the expression, “she split (וּמָחֲצָה) and struck through his temple” (Jud. 5:26), [hence, here it means,] they divided [among themselves] their [the adversaries’] land. It is also possible to interpret it in the literal sense, which is “arrows.” The arrows of the Holy One, blessed is He, will be dipped (יִמְחָץ) into the blood of the adversaries-He will dip and stain [the arrows] with blood, as in, “in order that your foot may wade (תִּמְחַץ) through blood” (Ps. 68: 24). This is not a departure from the general meaning of ‘wounding,’ as in, “I have wounded (מָחַצְתִּי)” (Deut. 32:39), for anything stained with blood appears as if it is wounded and stricken.   וְחִצָּיו יִמְחָֽץ: אֻנְקְלוֹס תִּרְגֵּם חֶצְיוֹ שֶׁל צָרִים — חֲלֻקָּה שֶׁלָּהֶם, כְּמוֹ (בראשית מ"ט) "בַּעֲלֵי חִצִּים" — מָרֵי פַּלְגּוּתָא, וְכֵן יִמְחָץ לְשׁוֹן "וּמָחֲצָה וְחָלְפָה רַקָּתוֹ" (שופטים ה') — שֶׁיֶחֱצוּ אֶת אַרְצָם. וְיֵשׁ לִפְתֹּר לְשׁוֹן חִצִּים מַמָּשׁ — חִצָּיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִמְחַץ בְּדָמָם שֶׁל צָרִים, יִטְבֹּל וְיִצְטַבַּע בְּדָמָם, כְּמוֹ "לְמַעַן תִּמְחַץ רַגְלְךָ בְּדָם" (תהלים ס"ח), וְאֵינוֹ זָז מִלָּשׁוֹן מַכָּה, כְּמוֹ "מָחַצְתִּי" (דברים ל"ב), שֶׁהַצָּבוּעַ בְּדָם נִרְאֶה כְּאִלּוּ מָחוּץ וְנָגוּעַ:
9He crouches and lies like a lion and like a lioness; who will dare rouse him? Those who bless you shall be blessed, and those who curse you shall be cursed.   טכָּרַ֨ע שָׁכַ֧ב כַּֽאֲרִ֛י וּכְלָבִ֖יא מִ֣י יְקִימֶ֑נּוּ מְבָֽרֲכֶ֣יךָ בָר֔וּךְ וְאֹֽרֲרֶ֖יךָ אָרֽוּר:
He crouches and lies like a lion: As the Targum [Onkelos] renders, they will settle in their land with might and power.   כָּרַע שָׁכַב כַּֽאֲרִי: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ — יִתְיַשְּׁבוּ בְאַרְצָם בְּכֹחַ וּגְבוּרָה:
10Balak's anger flared against Balaam, and he clapped his hands. Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times.   יוַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף בָּלָק֙ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיִּסְפֹּ֖ק אֶת־כַּפָּ֑יו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר בָּלָ֜ק אֶל־בִּלְעָ֗ם לָקֹ֤ב אֹֽיְבַי֙ קְרָאתִ֔יךָ וְהִנֵּה֙ בֵּרַ֣כְתָּ בָרֵ֔ךְ זֶ֖ה שָׁל֥שׁ פְּעָמִֽים:
he clapped: He struck one [hand] against the other. — [Onkelos , Menachem, Mid. Aggadah]   וַיִּסְפֹּק: הִכָּה זוֹ עַל זוֹ:
11Now, hurry back to your place. I said I would honor you greatly, but the Lord has deprived you of honor."   יאוְעַתָּ֖ה בְּרַח־לְךָ֣ אֶל־מְקוֹמֶ֑ךָ אָמַ֨רְתִּי֙ כַּבֵּ֣ד אֲכַבֶּדְךָ֔ וְהִנֵּ֛ה מְנָֽעֲךָ֥ יְהֹוָ֖ה מִכָּבֽוֹד:
12Balaam said to Balak, "But I even told the messengers you sent to me, saying,   יבוַיֹּ֥אמֶר בִּלְעָ֖ם אֶל־בָּלָ֑ק הֲלֹ֗א גַּ֧ם אֶל־מַלְאָכֶ֛יךָ אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥חְתָּ אֵלַ֖י דִּבַּ֥רְתִּי לֵאמֹֽר:
13'If Balak gives me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot transgress the word of the Lord to do either good or evil on my own; only what the Lord speaks can I speak.'   יגאִם־יִתֶּן־לִ֨י בָלָ֜ק מְלֹ֣א בֵיתוֹ֘ כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָב֒ לֹ֣א אוּכַ֗ל לַֽעֲבֹר֙ אֶת־פִּ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת טוֹבָ֛ה א֥וֹ רָעָ֖ה מִלִּבִּ֑י אֲשֶׁר־יְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֹת֥וֹ אֲדַבֵּֽר:
transgress the word of the Lord: Here it does not say, “my God,” as its says the first time [22:18], because he realized that he was loathsome to the Holy One, blessed is He, and had been banished [by Him]. — [Mid. Aggadah]   לַֽעֲבֹר אֶת־פִּי ה': כָּאן לֹא נֶאֱמַר "אֱלֹהַי" כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה (כ"ב י"ח), לְפִי שֶׁיָּדַע שֶׁנִּבְאַשׁ בְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְנִטְרַד:

Seventh Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 24

14And now, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you...what this people will do to your people at the end of days."   ידוְעַתָּ֕ה הִנְנִ֥י הוֹלֵ֖ךְ לְעַמִּ֑י לְכָה֙ אִיעָ֣צְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יַֽעֲשֶׂ֜ה הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֛ה לְעַמְּךָ֖ בְּאַֽחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִֽים:
I am going to my people: “From now I am like the rest of my people,” for the Holy One, blessed is He, had departed from him.   הוֹלֵךְ לְעַמִּי: מֵעַתָּה הֲרֵינִי כִשְׁאָר עַמִּי, שֶׁנִּסְתַּלֵּק הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵעָלָיו:
Come, I will advise you: what action you should take. What is that counsel? “The God of these [people] hates immorality [thus, entice them to sin with your women…] as it is related in [the chapter of] Cheilek (Sanh. 106a). The proof that Balaam offered this counsel to cause them to stumble through immorality is that it says, ”They were the ones who were involved with the children of Israel on Balaam’s advice" (31:16).   לְכָה אִיעָצְךָ: מַה לְּךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת, וּמַה הִיא הָעֵצָה? אֱלֹהֵיהֶם שֶׁל אֵלּוּ שׂוֹנֵא זִמָּה הוּא כו', כִּדְאִיתָא בְחֵלֶק (סנהדרין ק"ו); תֵּדַע שֶׁבִּלְעָם הִשִּׂיא עֵצָה זוֹ לְהַכְשִׁילָם בְּזִמָּה, שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר "הֵן הֵנָּה הָיוּ לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּדְבַר בִּלְעָם" (במדבר ל"א):
what this people will do to your people: This is an elliptical verse, [and it means,] I will advise you how to make them stumble, and tell you how they will punish Moab at the end of days. “And crush the princes of Moab” (verse 17); the Targum [Onkelos] elaborates on the abbreviated Hebrew.   אֲשֶׁר יַֽעֲשֶׂה הָעָם הַזֶּה לְעַמְּךָ: מִקְרָא קָצָר הוּא זֶה: אִיעָצְךָ לְהַכְשִׁילָם וְאֹמַר לְךָ מַה שֶּׁהֵן עֲתִידִין לְהָרַע לְמוֹאָב בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים — "וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב"; הַתַּרְגּוּם מְפָרֵשׁ קֹצֶר הָעִבְרִי:
15He took up his parable and said, "The word of Balaam, son of Beor, the word of a man with an open eye.   טווַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר נְאֻ֤ם בִּלְעָם֙ בְּנ֣וֹ בְעֹ֔ר וּנְאֻ֥ם הַגֶּ֖בֶר שְׁתֻ֥ם הָעָֽיִן:
16The word of the one who hears God's sayings and perceives the thoughts of the Most High; who sees the vision of the Almighty, fallen yet with open eyes.   טזנְאֻ֗ם שֹׁמֵ֨עַ֙ אִמְרֵי־אֵ֔ל וְיֹדֵ֖עַ דַּ֣עַת עֶלְי֑וֹן מַֽחֲזֵ֤ה שַׁדַּי֙ יֶֽחֱזֶ֔ה נֹפֵ֖ל וּגְל֥וּי עֵינָֽיִם:
and perceives the thoughts of the Most High: to determine the precise moment that He becomes angry. - [Ber. 7a]   וְיֹדֵעַ דַּעַת עֶלְיוֹן: לְכַוֵּן הַשָּׁעָה שֶׁכּוֹעֵס בָּהּ (סנהדרין ק"ה):
17I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel which will crush the princes of Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth.   יזאֶרְאֶ֨נּוּ֙ וְלֹ֣א עַתָּ֔ה אֲשׁוּרֶ֖נּוּ וְלֹ֣א קָר֑וֹב דָּרַ֨ךְ כּוֹכָ֜ב מִיַּֽעֲקֹ֗ב וְקָ֥ם שֵׁ֨בֶט֙ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וּמָחַץ֙ פַּֽאֲתֵ֣י מוֹאָ֔ב וְקַרְקַ֖ר כָּל־בְּנֵי־שֵֽׁת:
I see it: I see that prominence and greatness of Jacob, but it is not at present, only at a later time.   אֶרְאֶנּוּ: רוֹאֶה אֲנִי שִׁבְחוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב וּגְדֻלָּתוֹ, אַךְ לֹא עַתָּה הִיא, אֶלָּא לְאַחַר זְמַן:
A star has gone forth: As the Targum [Onkelos] renders, an expression similar to “He has bent (דָּר‏ַ) his bow” (Lam. 2:4), for a star shoots out like an arrow; in old French, destent, as if to say, his good fortune shall rise [prosper].   דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, לְשׁוֹן "דָּרַךְ קַשְׁתּוֹ" (איכה ב'), שֶׁהַכּוֹכָב עוֹבֵר כְּחֵץ, וּבְלַעַז דישט"נט, כְּלוֹמַר יָקוּם מַזָּל:
and a staff will arise: A king who rules dominantly.   וְקָם שֵׁבֶט: מֶלֶךְ רוֹדֶה וּמוֹשֵׁל:
which will crush the princes of Moab: This refers to David, of whom it says, “he laid them on the ground and measured two cord-lengths to put to death…” (II Sam. 8:2). - [Mid. Aggadah]   וּמָחַץ פַּֽאֲתֵי מוֹאָב: זֶה דָוִד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "הַשְׁכֵּב אוֹתָם אַרְצָה וַיְמַדֵּד שְׁנֵי חֲבָלִים לְהָמִית" וְגוֹ' (שמואל ב ח'):
and uproot: Heb. וְקַרְקַר is a term denoting ‘digging’ as in, “I dug (קַרְתִּי)” (II Kings 19:24); “to the hole of the pit from which you were dug out (נֻקַּרְתֶּם)” (Is. 51:1); “may the ravens of the valley pick it out (יִקְּרוּהָ)” (Prov. 30:17); in French, forer.   וְקַרְקַר: לְשׁוֹן קוֹרֶה, כְּמוֹ "אֲנִי קַרְתִּי" (מלכים ב י"ט), "מַקֶּבֶת בּוֹר נֻקַּרְתֶּם" (ישעיהו נ"א), "יִקְּרוּהָ עֹרְבֵי נַחַל" (משלי ל'), פורי"ר בְּלַעַ"ז:
all the sons of Seth: All the nations, for they are all descended from Seth, the son of Adam [lit., the first man].   כָּל־בְּנֵי־שֵֽׁת: כָּל הָאֻמּוֹת, שֶׁכֻּלָּם יָצְאוּ מִן שֵׁת בְּנוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן:
18Edom shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph.   יחוְהָיָ֨ה אֱד֜וֹם יְרֵשָׁ֗ה וְהָיָ֧ה יְרֵשָׁ֛ה שֵׂעִ֖יר אֹֽיְבָ֑יו וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עֹ֥שֶׂה חָֽיִל:
and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies: For his enemy, Israel.   וְהָיָה יְרֵשָׁה שֵׂעִיר: לְאוֹיְבָיו יִשְׂרָאֵל:
19A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city."   יטוְיֵ֖רְדְּ מִיַּֽעֲקֹ֑ב וְהֶֽאֱבִ֥יד שָׂרִ֖יד מֵעִֽיר:
A ruler shall come out of Jacob: There will be another ruler from Jacob.   וְיֵרְדְּ מִיַּֽעֲקֹב: וְעוֹד יִהְיֶה מוֹשֵׁל אַחֵר מִיַּעֲקֹב:
and destroy the remnant of the city: Of the most prominent [city] of Edom, that is, Rome. He says this regarding the King Messiah, of whom it says, “and may he reign from sea to sea,” (Ps. 72:8),“ and the house of Esau shall have no survivors” (Obad. 1:18). - [Mid. Aggadah]   וְהֶֽאֱבִיד שָׂרִיד מֵעִֽיר: הַחֲשׁוּבָה שֶׁל אֱדוֹם, הִיא רוֹמִי, וְעַל מֶלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אוֹמֵר כֵּן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "וְיֵרְדְּ מִיָּם עַד יָם" (תהלים ע"ב) "וְלֹא יִהְיֶה שָׂרִיד לְבֵית עֵשָׂו" (עוב' י"ח):
20When he saw Amalek, he took up his parable and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, and his fate shall be everlasting destruction."   כוַיַּרְא֙ אֶת־עֲמָלֵ֔ק וַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר רֵאשִׁ֤ית גּוֹיִם֙ עֲמָלֵ֔ק וְאַֽחֲרִית֖וֹ עֲדֵ֥י אֹבֵֽד:
He saw Amalek: He perceived the retribution destined to befall Amalek.   וַיַּרְא אֶת־עֲמָלֵק: נִסְתַּכֵּל בְּפֻרְעֲנוּתוֹ שֶׁל עֲמָלֵק:
Amalek was the first of the nations: He came before all of them to make war with Israel, and so Targum renders. And his fate shall be to perish by their hand, as it says, “You shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek” (Deut. 25:19).   רֵאשִׁית גּוֹיִם עֲמָלֵק: הוּא קָדַם אֶת כֻּלָּם לְהִלָּחֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל — וְכָךְ תִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס — ואחריתו לֵאָבֵד בְּיָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק" (דברים כ"ה):
21When he saw the Kenite, he took up his parable and said, "How firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in a cliff.   כאוַיַּרְא֙ אֶת־הַקֵּינִ֔י וַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֵיתָן֙ מֽוֹשָׁבֶ֔ךָ וְשִׂ֥ים בַּסֶּ֖לַע קִנֶּֽךָ:
He saw the Kenite and said: Since the Kenites were encamped near Amalek, as it is said, “Saul said to the Kenite…” (I Sam. 15:6), he mentions him after Amalek. He perceived the greatness of the sons of Jethro [known also as Keni], of whom it is said, “Tirathites (תִּרְעָתִים), Shimathites (שִׁמְעָתִים), Sochathites (סוֹכָתִים)” (I Chron. 2:55), [expounded on in Sifrei (Beha’alothecha 42) as follows: תִּרְעָתִים, so called because they heard the shofar blast (תְּרוּעָה) on Mount Sinai, because they would cry out (מַתְרִיעִים) and be answered, because they dwelled at the entrance to the gates (תַּרְעֵי) of Jerusalem; שִׁמְעָתִים, so called because they obeyed (שָׁמְעוּ) their father’s command (to abstain from drinking wine and to live in tents, as in Jer. 35:8, 9); סוֹכָתִים, so called because they did not anoint themselves (לֹא סָכוּ) with oil and because they dwelt in booths (סֻכּוֹת)].   וַיַּרְא אֶת־הַקֵּינִי: לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה קֵינִי תָּקוּעַ אֵצֶל עֲמָלֵק, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל הַקֵּינִי" וְגוֹ' (שמואל א ט"ו), הִזְכִּירוֹ אַחַר עֲמָלֵק; נִסְתַּכֵּל בִּגְדֻלָּתָן שֶׁל בְּנֵי יִתְרוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּהֶם (דבהי"א ב') "תִּרְעָתִים שִׁמְעָתִים שׂוּכָתִים" (ספרי במדבר י'; סנהדרין ק"ד):
How firm is your dwelling place: [Balaam asks Jethro, who is Keni,] “I wonder how you merited this? Were you not with me in the counsel [we gave Pharaoh] ”Come, let us deal wisely with them"? (Exod. 1:10) Yet now you have settled yourself in the firmness and strength of Israel. — [Sanh. 106a]   אֵיתָן מֽוֹשָׁבֶךָ: תָּמֵהַּ אֲנִי מֵהֵיכָן זָכִיתָ לְכָךְ הֲלֹא אַתָּה עִמִּי הָיִיתָ בַּעֲצַת "הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה לוֹ" (שמות א'), וְעַתָּה נִתְיַשַּׁבְתָּ בְאֵיתָן וּמָעוֹז שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל (סנהדרין ק"ו):
22For if Kain is laid waste, how far will Assyria take you captive?"   כבכִּ֥י אִם־יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְבָ֣עֵֽר קָ֑יִן עַד־מָ֖ה אַשּׁ֥וּר תִּשְׁבֶּֽךָּ:
For if Kain is laid waste: Fortunate are you that you are settled in this stronghold, for you will never be banished from the world. Even if you are destined to be exiled with the ten tribes, and be eliminated from the place where you had settled, what of it?   כִּי אִם־יִֽהְיֶה לְבָעֵֽר קָיִן וגו': אַשְׁרֶיךָ שֶׁנִּתְקַעְתָּ לְתֹקֶף זֶה, שֶׁאֵינְךָ נִטְרָד עוֹד מִן הָעוֹלָם, כִּי אַף אִם אַתָּה עָתִיד לִגְלוֹת עִם עֲשֶׂרֶת הַשְּׁבָטִים, וְתִהְיֶה לְבָעֵר מִמָּקוֹם שֶׁנִּתְיַשַּׁבְתָּ שָׁם, מַה בְּכָךְ?
how far will Assyria take you captive?: How far will he exile you? Perhaps as far as Halah or Habor? That is not considered being banished from the world, but being moved from one place to another, and you shall return with the other exiles.   עַד־מָה אַשּׁוּר תִּשְׁבֶּֽךָּ: עַד הֵיכָן הוּא מַגְלֶה אוֹתְךָ? שֶׁמָּא לַחְלַח וְחָבוֹר? אֵין זֶה טֵרוּד מִן הָעוֹלָם, אֶלָּא טִלְטוּל מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם, וְתָשׁוּב עִם שְׁאָר הַגָּלֻיּוֹת:
23He took up his parable and said, Alas! Who can survive these things from God?   כגוַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר א֕וֹי מִ֥י יִֽחְיֶ֖ה מִשֻּׂמ֥וֹ אֵֽל:
He took up his parable…: Since he mentioned the captivity by Assyria, he says-   וַיִּשָּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ וגו': כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִזְכִּיר אֶת שְׁבִיַּת אַשּׁוּר, אָמַר:
Alas! Who can survive these things from God?: Who can save himself from the One who designates these things, so that the One who decrees [namely, God] should not put these things [into effect] against him? [And what are these terrible things?] That Sennacherib will arise and confuse all the nations, and furthermore, “ships will come from the Kittites”-the Kittites, who are the Romans, shall go forth in huge warships against Assyria.   אוי מי יחיה משמו אל: מִי יָכוֹל לְהַחֲיוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִשּׂוּמוֹ אֶת אֵלֶּה — שֶׁלֹּא יָשִׂים עָלָיו הַגּוֹזֵר אֶת אֵלֶּה, שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד סַנְחֵרִיב וִיבַלְבֵּל אֶת כָּל הָאֻמּוֹת, וְעוֹד יָבֹאוּ:
24Ships will come from the Kittites and afflict Assyria and afflict those on the other side, but he too will perish forever."   כדוְצִים֙ מִיַּ֣ד כִּתִּ֔ים וְעִנּ֥וּ אַשּׁ֖וּר וְעִנּוּ־עֵ֑בֶר וְגַם־ה֖וּא עֲדֵ֥י אֹבֵֽד:
Ships will come from the Kittites: The people of Kittites - the Romans - will cross in big ships against Assyria.   צים מִיַּד כִּתִּים: וְיַעַבְרוּ כִתִּיִּים, שֶׁהֵן רוֹמִיִּים, בְּבִירָנִיּוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת עַל אַשּׁוּר:
and afflict those on the other side: And they shall afflict those on the other side of the river [Euphrates].   וְעִנּוּ עֵבֶר: וְעִנּוּ אוֹתָם שֶׁבְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר:
but he too will perish forever: Similarly does Daniel explain [concerning the Roman empire], “until the beast was slain and its body destroyed” (Dan. 7:11).   וְגַם־הוּא עֲדֵי אֹבֵֽד: וְכֵן פֵּרֵשׁ דָּנִיֵּאל "עַד דִּיקְטִילַת חֵיוְתָא וְהוּבַד גִּשְׁמַהּ" (דניאל ז'):
ships: Heb. וְצִים, huge ships, as it is written,“ וְצִי אַדִּיר ” (Is. 33:21) which the Targum [Jonathan] renders as“a great ship.” - [Yoma 77b]   וְצִים: סְפִינוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת, כְּדִכְתִיב (ישעיהו ל"ג) "וְצִי אַדִּיר", תַּרְגּוּמוֹ "וּבוּרְנִי רַבְּתָא" (יומא ע"ז):
25Balaam arose, went, and returned home, and Balak went on his way.   כהוַיָּ֣קָם בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ וַיָּ֣שָׁב לִמְקֹמ֑וֹ וְגַם־בָּלָ֖ק הָלַ֥ךְ לְדַרְכּֽוֹ:

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 25

1Israel settled in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of the Moabites.   אוַיֵּ֥שֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בַּשִּׁטִּ֑ים וַיָּ֣חֶל הָעָ֔ם לִזְנ֖וֹת אֶל־בְּנ֥וֹת מוֹאָֽב:
in Shittim: That is its name. — [Sanh. 106a]   בַּשִּׁטִּים: כָּךְ שְׁמָהּ:
to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab: As a result of Balaam’s advice, as is stated in [the chapter entitled] "Cheilek’ (Sanh. 106a).   לִזְנוֹת אֶל־בְּנוֹת מוֹאָֽב: עַל יְדֵי עֲצַת בִּלְעָם, כִּדְאִיתָא בְחֵלֶק (סנהדרין ק"ו):
2They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and prostrated themselves to their gods.   בוַתִּקְרֶ֣אןָ לָעָ֔ם לְזִבְחֵ֖י אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ן וַיֹּ֣אכַל הָעָ֔ם וַיִּשְׁתַּֽחֲו֖וּ לֵאלֹֽהֵיהֶֽן:
and prostrated themselves to their gods: When his urge overcame him, and he said to her, “Submit to me,” she took out an image of Peor from her bosom and said to him, “Bow down before this.” - [Sifrei Balak 1]   וַיִּשְׁתַּֽחֲווּ לֵאלֹֽהֵיהֶֽן: כְּשֶׁתָּקַף יִצְרוֹ וְאוֹמֵר לָהּ הִשָּׁמְעִי לִי, וְהִיא מוֹצִיאָה לוֹ דְּמוּת פְּעוֹר מֵחֵיקָהּ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ הִשְׁתַּחֲוֵה לָזֶה:
3Israel became attached to Baal Peor, and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel.   גוַיִּצָּ֥מֶד יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְבַ֣עַל פְּע֑וֹר וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יְהֹוָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Peor: [פְּעוֹר was so named] because before it they bared פּוֹעֲרִין their anus before it and relieved themselves. This was the manner of its worship. - [Sifrei Balak 1]   פְּעוֹר: עַל שֵׁם שֶׁפּוֹעֲרִין לְפָנָיו פִּי הַטַּבַּעַת וּמוֹצִיאִין רְעִי, וְזוֹ הִיא עֲבוֹדָתוֹ (סנהדרין ס'):
and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel: He sent a plague upon them.   וַיִּֽחַר־אַף ה' בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל: שָׁלַח בָּהֶם מַגֵּפָה:
4The Lord said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and hang them before the Lord, facing the sun, and then the flaring anger of the Lord will be removed from Israel.   דוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־משֶׁ֗ה קַ֚ח אֶת־כָּל־רָאשֵׁ֣י הָעָ֔ם וְהוֹקַ֥ע אוֹתָ֛ם לַֽיהֹוָ֖ה נֶ֣גֶד הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ וְיָשֹׁ֛ב חֲר֥וֹן אַף־יְהֹוָ֖ה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵֽל:
Take all the leaders of the people: to judge those who worshipped Peor. — [Sanh. 35a]   קַח אֶת־כָּל־רָאשֵׁי הָעָם: לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת הָעוֹבְדִים לִפְעוֹר:
and hang them: The [idol] worshippers.   וְהוֹקַע אוֹתָם: אֶת הָעוֹבְדִים:
and hang them: Heb. הוֹקַע. This refers to [death by] hanging, as we find with the sons of Saul [where a similar expression is used,] “and we shall hang them (הוֹקַעֲנוּם) for the Lord” (II Sam. 21:6), and there hanging is specifically mentioned. Idolatry is [punishable] by stoning, and all those stoned are also hanged [as is stated in Sanh. 45b according to Rabbi Eliezer].   וְהוֹקַע: הִיא תְלִיָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁמָּצִינוּ בִּבְנֵי שָׁאוּל "וְהוֹקַעֲנוּם לַה'" (שמואל ב כ״א:ו׳) וְשָׁם תְּלִיָּה מְפֹרֶשֶׁת (סנהדרין ל"ד); עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בִּסְקִילָה וְכָל הַנִּסְקָלִין נִתְלִין (סנהדרין מ"ה):
facing the sun: for all to see. The Midrash Aggadah (Mid. Tanchuma Balak 19) says: The sun identified the sinners, for the cloud folded back from the area above him and the sun shone on him. —   נֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ: לְעֵין כֹּל. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה: הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מוֹדִיעַ אֶת הַחוֹטְאִים, הֶעָנָן נִקְפָּל מִכְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְהַחַמָּה זוֹרַחַת עָלָיו:
5Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you shall kill the men who became attached to Baal Peor.   הוַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֔ה אֶל־שֹֽׁפְטֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הִרְגוּ֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֲנָשָׁ֔יו הַנִּצְמָדִ֖ים לְבַ֥עַל פְּעֽוֹר:
Each of you shall kill the men: Each one of the Israelite judges executed two, and there were eighty-eight thousand Israelite judges, as is stated in Sanhedrin [18a].   הִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֲנָשָׁיו: כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִדַּיָּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיָה הוֹרֵג שְׁנַיִם, וְדַּיָּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל שְׁמוֹנַת רִבּוֹא וּשְׁמוֹנַת אֲלָפִים כִּדְאִיתָא בְסַנְהֶ' (דף י"ח:):
6Then an Israelite man came and brought the Midianite woman to his brethren, before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of the entire congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.   ווְהִנֵּ֡ה אִישׁ֩ מִבְּנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל בָּ֗א וַיַּקְרֵ֤ב אֶל־אֶחָיו֙ אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִ֔ית לְעֵינֵ֣י משֶׁ֔ה וּלְעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־עֲדַ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְהֵ֣מָּה בֹכִ֔ים פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד:
Then an Israelite man came: The tribe of Simeon gathered around Zimri, who was their prince, and they said to him, “We have been sentenced to death, yet you sit there [and remain silent] etc.,” as it is related in [the chapter of] Elu hen hanisrafin’ (Sanh. 82a).   וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא: נִתְקַבְּצוּ שִׁבְטוֹ שֶׁל שִׁמְעוֹן אֵצֶל זִמְרִי שֶׁהָיָה נָשִׂיא שֶׁלָּהֶם, אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אָנוּ נִדּוֹנִין בְּמִיתָה וְאַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב וְכוּ' כִּדְאִיתָא בְּאֵלּוּ הֵן הַנִּשְׂרָפִין (סנהדרין פ"ב):
the Midianite woman: Cozbi the daughter of Zur (see verse 15).   אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִית: כָּזְבִּי בַת צוּר:
before the eyes of Moses: They said to him, “Moses, is this one forbidden or is she permitted? If you say it is forbidden, who permitted for you the daughter of Jethro…?” as is stated there (Sanh. 82a).   לְעֵינֵי משֶׁה: אָמְרוּ לוֹ, מֹשֶׁה, זוֹ אֲסוּרָה אוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת? אִם תֹּאמַר אֲסוּרָה, בַּת יִתְרוֹ מִי הִתִּירָהּ לְךָ, וְכוּ', כִּדְאִיתָא הָתָם:
while they were weeping: The law [that anyone cohabiting with a non-Jewish woman is to be executed by zealots] eluded him. [Therefore,] they all burst out weeping. At the incident of the golden calf Moses [successfully] confronted six hundred thousand as it says, “He ground it until it was powder…” (Exod. 32:20), yet here he appeared so helpless? However, [this happened] so that Phinehas should come and take what was due to him. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 20]   וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים: נִתְעַלְּמָה מִמֶּנּוּ הֲלָכָה, גָּעוּ כֻלָּם בִּבְכִיָּה; בָּעֵגֶל עָמַד מֹשֶׁה כְּנֶגֶד שִׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיִּטְחַן עַד אֲשֶׁר דָּק" וְגוֹ' (שמות ל"ב), וְכָאן רָפוּ יָדָיו? אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבֹא פִינְחָס וְיִטֹּל אֶת הָרָאוּי לוֹ (תנחומא):
7Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen saw this, arose from the congregation, and took a spear in his hand.   זוַיַּ֗רְא פִּֽינְחָס֙ בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָ֔ר בֶּן־אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵ֑ן וַיָּ֨קָם֙ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הָֽעֵדָ֔ה וַיִּקַּ֥ח רֹ֖מַח בְּיָדֽוֹ:
Phinehas…saw: He saw the deed and reminded himself of the law. He said to Moses, “I learned from you, ‘If someone cohabits with an Aramean [heathen] woman, zealots have a right to strike him [dead].’ ” He replied to him, “Let the one who reads the letter be the agent to carry it out.” Immediately,“he took a spear in his hand….” - [Sanh. 82a]   וַיַּרְא פִּֽינְחָס: רָאָה מַעֲשֶׂה וְנִזְכַּר הֲלָכָה — אָמַר לוֹ לְמֹשֶׁה מְקֻבַּלְנִי מִמְּךָ הַבּוֹעֵל אֲרַמִּית קַנָּאִין פּוֹגְעִין בּוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ "קַרְיָנָא דְּאִגַּרְתָּא אִיהוּ לֶיהֱוֵי פַּרְוַנְקָא", מִיָּד ויקח רמח בידו וגו' (סנהדרין פ"ב):
8He went after the Israelite man into the chamber and drove [it through] both of them; the Israelite man, and the woman through her stomach, and the plague ceased from the children of Israel.   חוַיָּבֹ֠א אַחַ֨ר אִֽישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה וַיִּדְקֹר֙ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֚ת אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־הָֽאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־קֳבָתָ֑הּ וַתֵּֽעָצַר֙ הַמַּגֵּפָ֔ה מֵעַ֖ל בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
into the chamber: Into the tent.   אֶל־הַקֻּבָּה: אֶל הָאֹהֶל:
through her stomach: Heb. קֳבָתָהּ, as in, “the jaw and the maw (וְהַקֵּבָה)” (Deut. 18:3). He aimed for the male organ of Zimri and her female organs and everyone saw that he had not killed them for nothing. Many miracles happened to him…, as it is related there (Sanh. 82b).   אֶל־קֳבָתָהּ: כְּמוֹ "וְהַלְּחָיַיִם וְהַקֵּבָה" (דברים י"ח), כִּוֵּן בְּתוֹךְ זַכְרוּת שֶׁל זִמְרִי וְנַקְבוּת שֶׁלָּהּ וְרָאוּ כֻלָּם שֶׁלֹא לְחִנָּם הֲרָגָם, וְהַרְבֵּה נִסִּים נַעֲשׂוּ לוֹ כו', כִּדְאִיתָא הָתָם:
9Those that died in the plague numbered twenty four thousand.   טוַיִּֽהְי֕וּ הַמֵּתִ֖ים בַּמַּגֵּפָ֑ה אַרְבָּעָ֥ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֖ים אָֽלֶף:

Maftir Portion

Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 25

7Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen saw this, arose from the congregation, and took a spear in his hand.   זוַיַּ֗רְא פִּֽינְחָס֙ בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָ֔ר בֶּן־אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵ֑ן וַיָּ֨קָם֙ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הָֽעֵדָ֔ה וַיִּקַּ֥ח רֹ֖מַח בְּיָדֽוֹ:
Phinehas…saw: He saw the deed and reminded himself of the law. He said to Moses, “I learned from you, ‘If someone cohabits with an Aramean [heathen] woman, zealots have a right to strike him [dead].’ ” He replied to him, “Let the one who reads the letter be the agent to carry it out.” Immediately,“he took a spear in his hand….” - [Sanh. 82a]   וַיַּרְא פִּֽינְחָס: רָאָה מַעֲשֶׂה וְנִזְכַּר הֲלָכָה — אָמַר לוֹ לְמֹשֶׁה מְקֻבַּלְנִי מִמְּךָ הַבּוֹעֵל אֲרַמִּית קַנָּאִין פּוֹגְעִין בּוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ "קַרְיָנָא דְּאִגַּרְתָּא אִיהוּ לֶיהֱוֵי פַּרְוַנְקָא", מִיָּד ויקח רמח בידו וגו' (סנהדרין פ"ב):
8He went after the Israelite man into the chamber and drove [it through] both of them; the Israelite man, and the woman through her stomach, and the plague ceased from the children of Israel.   חוַיָּבֹ֠א אַחַ֨ר אִֽישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה וַיִּדְקֹר֙ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֚ת אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־הָֽאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־קֳבָתָ֑הּ וַתֵּֽעָצַר֙ הַמַּגֵּפָ֔ה מֵעַ֖ל בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
into the chamber: Into the tent.   אֶל־הַקֻּבָּה: אֶל הָאֹהֶל:
through her stomach: Heb. קֳבָתָהּ, as in, “the jaw and the maw (וְהַקֵּבָה)” (Deut. 18:3). He aimed for the male organ of Zimri and her female organs and everyone saw that he had not killed them for nothing. Many miracles happened to him…, as it is related there (Sanh. 82b).   אֶל־קֳבָתָהּ: כְּמוֹ "וְהַלְּחָיַיִם וְהַקֵּבָה" (דברים י"ח), כִּוֵּן בְּתוֹךְ זַכְרוּת שֶׁל זִמְרִי וְנַקְבוּת שֶׁלָּהּ וְרָאוּ כֻלָּם שֶׁלֹא לְחִנָּם הֲרָגָם, וְהַרְבֵּה נִסִּים נַעֲשׂוּ לוֹ כו', כִּדְאִיתָא הָתָם:
9Those that died in the plague numbered twenty four thousand.   טוַיִּֽהְי֕וּ הַמֵּתִ֖ים בַּמַּגֵּפָ֑ה אַרְבָּעָ֥ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֖ים אָֽלֶף:

Haftarah

Michah (Micah) Chapter 5

6And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples-like dew sent by the Lord, like torrents of rain upon vegatation that does not hope for any man and does not wait for the sons of men.   ווְהָיָ֣ה | שְׁאֵרִ֣ית יַֽעֲקֹ֗ב בְּקֶ֙רֶב֙ עַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים כְּטַל֙ מֵאֵ֣ת יְהֹוָ֔ה כִּרְבִיבִ֖ים עֲלֵי־עֵ֑שֶׂב אֲשֶׁ֚ר לֹֽא־יְקַוֶּה֙ לְאִ֔ישׁ וְלֹ֥א יְיַחֵ֖ל לִבְנֵ֥י אָדָֽם:
like dew sent by the Lord: which does not come to the world through man, and people do not ask for it, so Israel will not hope for the help of man, but for the Lord.   כטל מאת ה': שאין בא לעולם ע"י אדם ולא יבקשו פני אדם עליו כך לא יקוה ישראל לעזרת איש כי אם בה':
7And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples-like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, if it passes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and no one [can] save anything.   זוְהָיָה֩ שְׁאֵרִ֨ית יַֽעֲקֹ֜ב בַּגּוֹיִ֗ם בְּקֶ֙רֶב֙ עַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים כְּאַרְיֵה֙ בְּבַֽהֲמ֣וֹת יַ֔עַר כִּכְפִ֖יר בְּעֶדְרֵי־צֹ֑אן אֲשֶׁ֧ר אִם עָבַ֛ר וְרָמַ֥ס וְטָרַ֖ף וְאֵ֥ין מַצִּֽיל:
like a lion among the beasts of the forest: So will their king rule over all.   כאריה בבהמות יער: כך יהי מלכם שליט בכל:
which treads down and tears in pieces: Heb. רָמַס. This is the lion’s treading down [an animal] when he [the lion] is hungry and eating it in its place. Tearing (טָרַף) is when he carries the prey to his den for his cubs and his lionesses.   ורמס וטרף: רמס היא דריסת הארי כשהוא רעב ואוכלו במקומו וטרף הוא כשנושא את הטרף למעונותיו בשביל גורותיו ולבאותיו:
8Your hand shall be raised above your oppressors, and all your enemies shall be destroyed.   חתָּרֹ֥ם יָדְךָ֖ עַל־צָרֶ֑יךָ וְכָל־אֹֽיְבֶ֖יךָ יִכָּרֵֽתוּ:
9And it shall come to pass on that day, says the Lord, that I will cut your horses out of your midst, and I will destroy your chariots.   טוְהָיָ֚ה בַיּֽוֹם־הַהוּא֙ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְהִכְרַתִּ֥י סוּסֶ֖יךָ מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְהַֽאֲבַדְתִּ֖י מַרְכְּבֹתֶֽיךָ:
that I will cut your horses: the Egyptian aid upon which you rely to supply you with horses.   והכרתי סוסיך: היא עזרת מצרים שאתם נשענים עליהם להמציאכם סוסים:
10And I will destroy the cities of your land, and I will break down all your fortresses.   יוְהִכְרַתִּ֖י עָרֵ֣י אַרְצֶ֑ךָ וְהָֽרַסְתִּ֖י כָּל־מִבְצָרֶֽיךָ:
And I will destroy your cities: And you will no longer need fortified cities.   והכרתי ערי ארצך: ולא תצטרך לערי מבצר:
11And I will destroy sorcery from your hand, and you will have no soothsayers.   יאוְהִכְרַתִּ֥י כְשָׁפִ֖ים מִיָּדֶ֑ךָ וּֽמְעֽוֹנְנִ֖ים לֹ֥א יִֽהְיוּ־לָֽךְ:
12And I will destroy your graven images and your monuments from your midst, and you shall no longer prostrate yourself to your handiwork.   יבוְהִכְרַתִּ֧י פְסִילֶ֛יךָ וּמַצֵּֽבוֹתֶ֖יךָ מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְלֹֽא־תִשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֥ה ע֖וֹד לְמַֽעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדֶֽיךָ:
13And I will uproot your asherim from your midst, and I will destroy your enemies.   יגוְנָֽתַשְׁתִּ֥י אֲשֵׁירֶ֖יךָ מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְהִשְׁמַדְתִּ֖י עָרֶֽיךָ:
and I will destroy your enemies: Heb. עָרֶיךָ. Jonathan renders: And I will destroy your enemies. Similarly, (Isa. 14:21) “And fill the surface of the earth with enemies (עָרִים) ,” and (I Sam. 28:16) “And has become your adversary (עָרֶךָ).”   והשמדתי עריך: ואשיצי בעלי דבבך וכן (ישעיהו י״ד:כ״א) ומלאו פני תבל ערים וכן (שמואל א כח) ויהי עריך:
14And in anger and fury I will execute vengeance upon the nations who have paid no heed.   ידוְעָשִׂ֜יתִי בְּאַ֧ף וּבְחֵמָ֛ה נָקָ֖ם אֶת־הַגּוֹיִ֑ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר לֹ֥א שָׁמֵֽעוּ:

Michah (Micah) Chapter 6

1Hear now what the Lord says; Rise; contend with the mountains, and may the hills hear My voice.   אשִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א אֵ֥ת אֲשֶֽׁר־יְהֹוָ֖ה אֹמֵ֑ר קוּם רִ֣יב אֶת־הֶֽהָרִ֔ים וְתִשְׁמַ֥עְנָה הַגְּבָע֖וֹת קוֹלֶֽךָ:
with the mountains: with the Patriarchs.   את ההרים: את האבות:
the hills: the Matriarchs.   הגבעות: האמהות:
2Hear ye, O mountains, the controversy of the Lord; and you mighty ones, the foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with His people, and with Israel He shall contend.   בשִׁמְע֚וּ הָרִים֙ אֶת־רִ֣יב יְהֹוָ֔ה וְהָאֵֽתָנִ֖ים מֹ֣סְדֵי אָ֑רֶץ כִּ֣י רִ֚יב לַֽיהֹוָה֙ עִם־עַמּ֔וֹ וְעִם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל יִתְוַכָּֽח:
3O My people, what have I done, and how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.   געַמִּ֛י מֶֽה־עָשִׂ֥יתִי לְךָ֖ וּמָ֣ה הֶלְאֵתִ֑יךָ עֲנֵ֥ה בִֽי:
what have I done for you: Put your heart to recognizing what benefit I have done for you.   מה עשיתי לך: תן לבך להכיר מה טוב עשיתי לך:
and how have I wearied you: with My worship?   ומה הלאתיך: בעבודתי:
Testify against Me: Heb. ענה בי: Testify against me.   ענה בי: העד בי:
4For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.   דכִּ֚י הֶעֱלִתִ֙יךָ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם וּמִבֵּ֥ית עֲבָדִ֖ים פְּדִיתִ֑יךָ וָֽאֶשְׁלַ֣ח לְפָנֶ֔יךָ אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֖ה אַֽהֲרֹ֥ן וּמִרְיָֽם:
For I brought you up: Although I bestowed all this benefit upon you, I did not weary you with much worship or with large sacrifices.   כי העליתיך: אע"פ שעשיתי לך כל הטובה הזאת לא הלאתיך בעבודה גדולה ובקרבנות גדולים:
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: Jonathan paraphrases: Moses to teach the transmission of the laws, Aaron to atone for the people, and Miriam to instruct the women.   את משה אהרן ומרים: ת"י משה לאלפא מסורת דינין ואהרן לכפרא על עמא ומרים לאוראה לנשיא:
5My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him. From Shittim to Gilgal, may you recognize the righteous deeds of the Lord.   העַמִּ֗י זְכָר־נָא֙ מַה־יָּעַ֗ץ בָּלָק֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֔ב וּמֶה־עָנָ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ בִּלְעָ֣ם בֶּן־בְּע֑וֹר מִן־הַשִּׁטִּים֙ עַד־הַגִּלְגָּ֔ל לְמַ֥עַן דַּ֖עַת צִדְק֥וֹת יְהֹוָֽה:
and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him: (Num. 23:8) “How shall I be angry if God is not angry?” For I did not become angry all those days. [from Berachot 7a]   ומה ענה אותו בלעם בן בעור: מה אזעום לא זעם ה' (במדבר כ״ג:ח׳) שלא כעסתי כל אותן הימים:
from Shittim: where you sinned before Me. You should recognize My righteous deeds, for I did not withhold My kindness and My assistance from you until I brought you to Gilgal, and I conquered the land before you.   מן השטים: שחטאתם לי שם דעו צדקותי שלא מנעתי טובתי ועזרתי מכם עד הבאתי אתכם לגלגל וכבשתי לפניכם שם את הארץ:
6With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves?   ובַּמָּה֙ אֲקַדֵּ֣ם יְהֹוָ֔ה אִכַּ֖ף לֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י מָר֑וֹם הַֽאֲקַדְּמֶ֣נּוּ בְעוֹל֔וֹת בַּֽעֲגָלִ֖ים בְּנֵ֥י שָׁנָֽה:
bow: I will be humbled.   אכף: אהיה כפוף:
7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?   זהֲיִרְצֶ֚ה יְהֹוָה֙ בְּאַלְפֵ֣י אֵילִ֔ים בְּרִֽבְב֖וֹת נַֽחֲלֵי־שָׁ֑מֶן הַֽאֶתֵּ֚ן בְּכוֹרִי֙ פִּשְׁעִ֔י פְּרִ֥י בִטְנִ֖י חַטַּ֥את נַפְשִֽׁי:
streams of oil: for meal offerings.   נחלי שמן: למנחות:
Shall I give my firstborn?: as a sacrifice for my transgression.   האתן בכורי: קרבן לפשעי:
8He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God.   חהִגִּ֥יד לְךָ֛ אָדָ֖ם מַה־טּ֑וֹב וּמָה־יְהֹוָ֞ה דּוֹרֵ֣שׁ מִמְּךָ֗ כִּ֣י אִם־עֲשׂ֚וֹת מִשְׁפָּט֙ וְאַ֣הֲבַת חֶ֔סֶד וְהַצְנֵ֥עַ לֶ֖כֶת עִם־אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ:
He has told: The Holy One, blessed be He, has told you what is good for you to do.   הגיד: הקב"ה לך אדם מה טוב לך לעשות:
and to walk discreetly: Jonathan renders: Walk discreetly in the fear of your God. Another explanation: And walk discreetly. The standard of flesh and blood is not like the standard of the Holy One, blessed be He. The standard of flesh and blood is: If one man embarrasses his fellow and comes to placate him, the fellow says to him, “I will not accept your apology until so and so and so and so, before whom you disgraced me, come.” But the Holy One, blessed be He, desires only that the man’s return to Him be between the two of them. [from Pesikta d’Rav Kahana 163b]   והצנע לכת: ת"י הוי צנוע למיהך בדחלא דאלהך, ד"א והצנע לכת לא כמדת הקב"ה מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם מבייש את חבירו ובא לפייסו ואומר לו איני מתרצה לך עד שיבא פלוני ופלוני שבזיתני לפניהם אבל הקב"ה אין חפץ אלא שישוב אליו בינו לבין עצמו:
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