Parshas Balak: Blessings and Curses

This week’s Parsha, Balak, tells us the meaningful story of the prophet Balaam, and how his attempts at the request of King Balak to curse the Israelites backfire, resulting in him blessing them instead, to the frustration of the Moabite King. It’s actually in Balaam’s prophecy that we read about the coming of Moshiach, who will be a descendent of Dovid Hamelech. This part of the prophecy carries a crucial message about the Jewish people; one which ties in closely to the episode in which Balaam’s curses transform into blessings.

Towards the end of the Parsha, we read “There shall shoot forth a star out of Jacob (24:17)”. The Baal Shem Tov explains this passage as meaning that the source of Moshiach lies within the soul of every single Jew. We commonly repeat that there is a spark of Moshe Rabbenu inside all Jews, but rarely do we hear that there is some small source of Moshiach lying within every Jewish soul.

Truly, this illustrates how each and every Jew has the power to bring Moshiach. The Rebbe zt”l was a firm believer in the idea that just one mitzvah could tip the scales and begin the Messianic era. Just one man laying tefillin, or one woman lighting Shabbes candles; one person helping another, or one individual spreading the light of Torah, and we could find ourselves living with Moshiach. The source of this belief may very well lie in Parshas Balak, where we learn that a spark of Moshiach sits within us all.

Additionally, this concept coincides with Balaam’s failed attempt to curse the Israelites. Just as his curses turned to blessings, we all have the power to do the same in our daily lives. To turn our mistakes into chances to repent and change our behaviour; to change failures into an incentive to change; to transform one’s suffering into a closer relationship with G-d. No matter how we choose to do it, we all have the power to turn curses into blessings, as G-d did in Parshas Batak; and we all have the power to bring Moshiach, may he arrive speedily and in our days iyH!

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