Numbers 22: 2- 25:9
Candle Lighting time 8:12 p.m.
(With thanks to my college roommate Avi West who shared a video with me made by the students of the synagogue from my home town Pepper Pike)
“Under it. Over it. Around it. Through it. Nothing will stop me from doing it.” I often hear people express this kind of attitude when they get an idea or see an opportunity that seems good or profitable. They devote all of their resources to getting it done.
As evidence that this way of thinking may be flawed, I call as my witness a donkey—a donkey belonging to a man named Balaam in this week’s Torah reading.
Balaam was offered a profitable assignment from a neighboring king, and he inquired of God for permission to accept it (Num. 22). When God said no, the king’s representatives made a better offer. Thinking God might change His mind, Balaam asked again. God granted permission for Balaam to go with them but with strict conditions. God knew Balaam’s heart and was not pleased with him, so He placed His Angel in the way. Balaam couldn’t see the Angel but his donkey could. When the donkey refused to continue, Balaam became angry with the animal for blocking his progress.
Balaam’s story teaches us that perhaps not all obstacles should be overcome. Perhaps an obstacle in our way is God’s way of teaching us before we act we should stop, think especially of the consequences of our actions, and then act righteously. We would avoid many mistakes if we would just take the time to stop, think, and then act.