ג וַיֹּאמֶר בִּלְעָם לְבָלָק הִתְיַצֵּב עַל־עֹלָתֶךָ וְאֵלְכָה אוּלַי יִקָּרֵה יְהֹוָה לִקְרָאתִי וּדְבַר מַה־יַּרְאֵנִי וְהִגַּדְתִּי לָךְ וַיֵּלֶךְ שֶׁפִי׃
ה וַיָּשֶׂם יְהֹוָה דָּבָר בְּפִי בִלְעָם וַיֹּאמֶר שׁוּב אֶל־בָּלָק וְכֹה תְדַבֵּר׃
6 So he returned to him and found him standing beside his offerings, and all the Moabite dignitaries with him.
ו וַיָּשָׁב אֵלָיו וְהִנֵּה נִצָּב עַל־עֹלָתוֹ הוּא וְכָל־שָׂרֵי מוֹאָב׃
8 How can I damn whom Hashem has not damned, How doom when Hashem has not doomed?
ח מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל וּמָה אֶזְעֹם לֹא זָעַם יְהֹוָה׃
9 As I see them from the mountain tops, Gaze on them from the heights, There is a people that dwells apart, Not reckoned among the nations,
kee may-ROSH tzu-REEM er-E-nu u-mig-va-OT a-shu-RE-nu hen AM l’-va-DAD yish-KON u-va-go-YEEM LO yit-kha-SHAV
ט כִּי־מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ וּמִגְּבָעוֹת אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ הֶן־עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב׃
23:9 There is a people that dwells apart, not reckoned among the nations
This chapter is one of three that describe the failed attempt by Balaam to curse the People of Israel. His plan is foiled by Hashem, and instead of a curse, Balaam utters a reluctant compliment, “There is a people that dwells apart, not reckoned among the nations.” For better or for worse, the Jews have always been set aside from among the nations and singled out for special treatment. Today, Israel receives a disproportionate amount of coverage by the media, most of it negative. However, we must recognize the inherent lesson of this solitude: the People of Israel have been singled out for a holy purpose. They were chosen by Hashem to remain faithful to Him and to fulfill the biblical mandate of teaching His truths to the world. While for most of history, the Jewish Nation has indeed been an isolated “people that dwells apart,” that reality began to change with the establishment of the State of Israel. For the first time, millions of non-Jews have started to stand together with the People of Israel, rejecting the curse of Balaam.1 comment
12 He replied, “I can only repeat faithfully what Hashem puts in my mouth.”
יב וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמַר הֲלֹא אֵת אֲשֶׁר יָשִׂים יְהֹוָה בְּפִי אֹתוֹ אֶשְׁמֹר לְדַבֵּר׃
13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you can see them—you will see only a portion of them; you will not see all of them—and damn them for me from there.”
יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו בָּלָק לך־[לְכָה־] נָּא אִתִּי אֶל־מָקוֹם אַחֵר אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶנּוּ מִשָּׁם אֶפֶס קָצֵהוּ תִרְאֶה וְכֻלּוֹ לֹא תִרְאֶה וְקָבְנוֹ־לִי מִשָּׁם׃
14 With that, he took him to Sedehzophim, on the summit of Pisgah. He built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
יד וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ שְׂדֵה צֹפִים אֶל־רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה וַיִּבֶן שִׁבְעָה מִזְבְּחֹת וַיַּעַל פָּר וָאַיִל בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ׃
טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־בָּלָק הִתְיַצֵּב כֹּה עַל־עֹלָתֶךָ וְאָנֹכִי אִקָּרֶה כֹּה׃
17 He went to him and found him standing beside his offerings, and the Moabite dignitaries with him. Balak asked him, “What did Hashem say?”
18 And he took up his theme, and said: Up, Balak, attend, Give ear unto me, son of Zippor!
יח וַיִּשָּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר קוּם בָּלָק וּשֲׁמָע הַאֲזִינָה עָדַי בְּנוֹ צִפֹּר׃
19 Hashem is not man to be capricious, Or mortal to change His mind. Would He speak and not act, Promise and not fulfill?
20 My message was to bless: When He blesses, I cannot reverse it.
כ הִנֵּה בָרֵךְ לָקָחְתִּי וּבֵרֵךְ וְלֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנָּה׃
22 Hashem who freed them from Egypt Is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
כב אֵל מוֹצִיאָם מִמִּצְרָיִם כְּתוֹעֲפֹת רְאֵם לוֹ׃
24 Lo, a people that rises like a lion, Leaps up like the king of beasts, Rests not till it has feasted on prey And drunk the blood of the slain.
כד הֶן־עָם כְּלָבִיא יָקוּם וְכַאֲרִי יִתְנַשָּׂא לֹא יִשְׁכַּב עַד־יֹאכַל טֶרֶף וְדַם־חֲלָלִים יִשְׁתֶּה׃