The prophet Bilaam was hired to curse the Children of Israel. However, each time he tried to pronounce a curse, it came out as a blessing. One of those blessings reads:
It is a people that dwells alone [badad], Not reckoned among the nations. (Num. 23:9)
Israel are depicted as dwelling “alone”. Alone can mean isolation and loneliness, is this a blessing?!
Not be reckoned among the nations. As Targum explains, they will not suffer destruction as other nations will, as it is says (Jeremiah 30:11), “for I shall annihilate all the nations” and Israel will not be counted amongst them. (Rashi)
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Balak: A People that Dwell Alone.
Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.
Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.