Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

July 19, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

This week, the Torah portion contains a bizarre story about a sorcerer who tries to curse the Israelites. Afraid of the approaching Israelites, Balak, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse them.

Balaam consults with God and is told not to go. But after King Balak sends a more impressive delegation, Balaam asks again, and God relents; he can go, but he must do whatever God commands.

Balaam tries to curse the Israelites but is unable. King Balak is frustrated as his hired sorcerer is doing the exact opposite of his wishes. Balaam is only doing what he is able, that which God allows.

In Numbers 23:27, Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to a different place. Perhaps it will please God, and you will curse them for me from there.”

King Balak suggests a change location to change their luck. Perhaps in a different place, Balaam will be able to curse the Israelites.

Often in our lives, we think, if only I lived here or moved, I would be so much more wealthy, more successful, happier. If only I lived in a warmer or colder place, all my problems would go away. Yes, location is important, an ice cream store in Tampa will be much more successful than one in Anchorage, Alaska. Yet, where ever we go we bring our problems, our insecurities, and difficulties with us. If all one changes is their location, eventually they will feel the same as they did before the move.

In our Torah portion, King Balak and Balaam do move, and it is from this new location that Balaam continues to bless the Israelites, much angering King Balak. Sometimes doing the same thing in a new place does not net different results.

If you are the type of person to dwell on negativity, that attitude will catch up to you. You could move to Hawaii, and soon the beautiful sights will become commonplace, and that negative mindset will continue in paradise.

To feel happier and more successful, we have to change what we are doing and our location, we have to change what we are doing and our outlook. Then we may be blessed, and our actions will meet our intentions.

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat