hebrew
1)

What can we learn from Bil'am's reply "Im Yiten li Balak M'lo Beiso Kesef v'Zahav ... "?

1.

Rashi: We learn from there that Bil'am was a greedy man, who coveted the money of others. 1

2.

Ramban: He meant that no matter how much Balak offered him, he was unable to do anything that contravened His wishes. 2


1

Rashi: He was hinting that Balak really ought to give him everything that he owned, since, if he were to hire mercenaries, it would cost him a fortune - with no guarantee of victory, whereas his curses were guaranteed to work.

2

Ramban: Since Hashem was His G-d and he was his servant.

2)

What are the connotations of his statement "Ki Lo Uchal La'avor Es Pi Hashem"?

1.

Rashi: Here he was forced to admit that he was not his own boss 1 and it was a prophecy that he would not be able to negate the Berachos that the Avos had received from the Shechinah.


1

Refer to 22:13:1:1*.

3)

The first messengers were called "Sarei Mo'av." These were more important. Why are they called "Avdei Valak"?

1.

Moshav Zekenim: Perhaps because Bil'am was conceited, he did not consider them to be nobles, therefore it says "El Avdei Valak." Above, since the Torah already called them Sarim (verse 8), they are called Sarim also when Bil'am spoke to them (verse 13).

2.

Refer to 22:18:152:2.

4)

Here, the second messengers are called "Avdei Valak." Why are they called "Sarei Mo'av" below (verse 21)?

1.

Moshav Zekenim #1: The great nobles who see the king's face are called Avdei ha'Melech, for they stand to fulfill his word more than others. The verse proves that they were more important than the first ones.

2.

Moshav Zekenim #2: Here, Bil'am was ashamed to give a feeble answer to the nobles (that he must ask Hashem), so he told them via the slaves. Below, when he went together with them, they are called Sarim.

5)

If he cannot transgress to do "Ketanah", he need not say that he cannot do "Gedolah"!

1.

Kol Eliyahu (citing Midrash Peli'ah), Divrei Eliyahu: There are two opinions, whether Hashem put in Bil'am's mouth a Resen 1 (bit) or a hook. A Resen forces the tongue out, and a hook pierces the tongue and prevents it from leaving. Bil'am wanted to mention Elokim and Yud-Kei, which are names of Din 2 , for the curse to take effect. When he started to say Elokim, Hashem stopped him at Kel, which is Chesed ("Chesed Kel Kol ha'Yom"- Tehilim 52:3). When he said Yud-Kei, Hashem forced him to add ''Vov-Hei', so he said Shem Havayah (mercy). Bil'am said, I cannot transgress Pi Hashem Elokai, to say a small name (Yud-Kei) or a big name (Elokim) against His will. 3


1

In Sanhedrin 105 and Yalkut Shimoni, the former opinion says 'an angel.' The Vilna Gaon's Drashah fits best according to Rashi (23:16), that he put a Resen and a hook in his mouth. (PF)

2

Kol Eliyahu: It says "Ashrei ha'Gever Asher Teyasrenu Kah" (Tehilim 94:12).

3

Divrei Eliyahu: "Mah Ekov Lo Kaboh Kel u'Mah Ez'om Lo Za'am Hashem" (23:8)

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