hebrew
1)

What are the connotations of "Pesorah"?

1.

Rashi #1: It compares Bil'am to a moneychanger, 1 to whom everyone brings their coins (to check or to exchange), so too, did everyone bring Bil'am their letters to decipher.

2.

Rashi #2 and Targum Onkelos: It is simply the name of the place where Bil'am lived. 2

3.

Targum Yonasan: It is the name of the place where Bil'am, alias Lavan ha'Arami, 3 lived, 4 and which was named after him because he was a dream-interpreter (Poser Chalomos). 5


1

A moneychanger used to sit in front of a table ('Pesorah' is also Arama'ic for 'a table'), on which all transactions were performed.

2

Targum Onkelos: Aram (Naharayim) on the River P'ras.

3

Targum Yonasan: Who was so evil that he actually went to curse the descendants of his own grandchildren!

4

Refer to 22:5:1:1*.

5

See Ba'al ha'Turim.

2)

What are the connotations of "Eretz B'nei Amo"?

1.

Rashi (citing the Midrash Rabah) and Rashbam: It means that Bil'am hailed from the same town as Balak. 1

2.

Ramban: It means from the land where Bil'am was born and where his lineage lay. 2

3.

Targum Yonasan: It means that people from all over came and bowed down to him.


1

Rashi: Whom he predicted would become king. Also see 23:7.

2

Ramban: To teach us that he was a sorcerer, and that he came from a land where they were all sorcerers - See Yeshayah, 2:6.

3)

Id Bil'am was alias Lavan, why was he now called 'Bil'am'?

1.

Targum Yonasan: 'Bil'am' is the acronym of 'Bala Am'

4)

Why did Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu grant prophecy to a wicked Nochri?

1.

Rashi: So that the Nochrim would not be able to claim that, had Hashem given them prophets, they would have followed the right path. So He gave them a prophet, and what did he do? He broke down the barriers of morality - inasmuch as previously, the people guarded themselves against Z'nus, and he came along and advised them to engage in it.

5)

What are the implications of "Likro Lo"?

1.

Rashi: It implies that Balak offered Bil'am a lot of money to come and curse Yisrael. 1


1

As the word "Lo" generally means 'for his benefit'

6)

What did Balak mean when he said "Hinei Chisah es Ein ha'Aretz"?

1.

Rashi: He meant metaphorically that Yisrael had defeated Sichon, who guarded them, and that they therefore constituted a threat to Mo'av.

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