hebrew
1)

What is the significance of the fact that Bil'am decided not to seek divination?

1.

Ramban: Refer to 24:1:2:2.

2.

Rashbam: He decided not to seek permission to curse Yisrael, but to bless Yisrael with a full heart.

3.

Seforno: When he saw that it was good in the Eyes of Hashem to bless Yisrael, he decided that there was no point in continuing to seek permission to curse them, so he changed his tactics - to confer upon them limited B'rachos which incorporated hidden K'lalos. 1

4.

Da'as Zekenim, Hadar Zekenim: He did not test if He will curse them; surely, He will not curse them (refer to 23:23:1:5). Therefore, he intended to bless them, and Hashem agreed


1

Seforno: As the Gemara states in Ta'anis, 20a - 'The curses that Achiyah ha'Shiloni conferred upon Yisrael, are better than the blessings of Bil'am'.

2

Da'as Zekenim, Hadar Zekenim: Alternatively, he wanted to curse them, but the Shechinah came on him and he was forced to bless them.

2)

If Bil'am finally realized that Hashem would not curse Yisrael, why did he turn his face towards the desert?

1.

Rashi: He thought that he would evoke Hashem's anger by mentioning Yisrael's sins, and the curse will take effect when he mentions them by name; so he turned to the sin of the Golden Calf that Yisrael had made in the desert. 1

2.

Ramban: The first two times he went to prepare his divination with which to curse Yisrael, and Hashem came to him by chance to instruct him what to say in His Name. This time however, 2 he turned to the desert and prepared himself for a direct revelation from Hashem.

3.

Rashbam: Refer to 24:1:1:2.

4.

Seforno: Refer to 24:1:1;3.


1

See Na'ar Yonasan .

2

Ramban: After having stated "Ki Lo Nachash b'Ya'akov ... ".

3)

What is the significance of "the desert" in this context?

1.

Rashi (citing Targum Onkelos), Ramban (citing Targum Yerushalmi) and Targum Yonasan: He turned to the sin of the Golden Calf that Yisrael had transgressed in the desert. 1


1

See Na'ar Yonasan.

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