One of the main stories in this week’s Torah portion, Balak, is the story of Balaam and the donkey. In short, Balaam works for Balak who orders him to go and curse the Israelites. Balaam rides his donkey and along the way the donkey speaks to Balaam. The donkey is able to see an angel of G-d in their path and Balaam is not able to do so. Even when Balaam ignores the donkey, hits him and yells at him, the donkey sticks with his mission, recognizes G-d’s presence and helps Balaam realize that his mission is to bless the Israelites and not curse them.
A few years ago, I heard a wonderful drash by parents to their son who became bar mitzvah with this parashah. His parents told him to learn the lessons of this week’s portion, including that even when it is difficult and people don’t want to hear you, stick to it and be the donkey!
This week’s link is from Daf HaShavuah from United Synagogue London. One excerpt of it is (note that they spell Balaam Bile’am),
“From Bile’am, we see that challenges often beat us. Even changing positions did not enable him to successfully curse the Jewish people. However, in the challenges that we face, in our struggles to succeed, maybe we should try to view the situation from a different angle, from a new perspective or with a fresh approach. In this way, we might find that a problem is not insurmountable, that what appears to be a blessing is not always so and that a curse is not necessarily a curse.”
Go and study!
Be the donkey!