Friday, 15 July, 2022 - 4:42 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Kids are born with an intuition that borders on genius.

A kid instinctively knows that their whining is a key that can open many a door.

Kids know that crying, with the right amount of determination is like a ‘master’ key.

Making you feel like you are being unfair to them is another tool that kids employ with success. As in ‘everyone else’s mother is letting them do xyz, only you don’t let me do it’.

If your kid finds you in a good mood, they intuit that that’s a good time to ask for the ‘keys to the car’.

If you are in a bad mood, there are ways kids can use that too.

For example, many a kid knows how to identify when their parent is angry and get them to channel that anger against a teacher that may have acted unkindly to them. There is nothing like anger to beget more anger.

How to predict when their parent will be angry, that is a little more complicated. Especially, if we are talking about a perfectly keeled, emotionally balanced parent. Why would they get angry just like that?

With G-d, you would need to be a prophet to figure out when G-d is ‘short-tempered’ and in an ‘angry mood’ so to speak.

Bil’am was a non-Jewish prophet who was given prophetic powers by G-d to create a contra to the positive prophecy of Moshe. The way G-d created our world is that there should be a balance between good and bad. It is then our task to choose good over bad and make the world a holy place.

Bil’am, in his capacity of someone who had a ‘powerful mouth’, was hired by Balak the king of Moav, to curse the Jewish people.

What was Bil’am thinking when he agreed to take on the task. You don’t need to be a prophet to know that G-d loves His children. Why would Bil’am assume that G-d would agree to allow him to curse his beloved children?

Bil’am accepted the job because he had some information that he thought would allow him to succeed. Bil’am knew that G-d has a brief moment every day when He – so to speak – gets angry at the wicked. Bil’am figured that if he curses the Jews at that precise moment, he would be able to get some traction. When G-d is in a ‘judgmental mode’ its possible to point out something negative, even if ever so tiny.

Yet, he was unsuccessful. The Torah tells us that Bil’am was unable to curse the Jews. He couldn’t find that moment of anger, hard as the tried.

Not because he was not a powerful prophet. He was the most high-level non-Jewish prophet in history.

Rather it was because G-d had totally suspended the ‘moment of anger’ during the time that Bil’am was searching for it to use it in unscrupulous ways.

That is how much G-d loves His people.

When you love someone totally and unconditionally, you don’t even want to listen to anything negative about them.

Even if you know that they are not perfect.

You may be having a ‘brotherly fight’. But if a stranger mixes in, both brothers will join together to repel that intruder.

G-d has some complaints about us at times. We are not perfect.

But to let an ‘outsider’ curse us?

No way!

That is the message of this week’s portion.

Unity. Brotherhood. Love. Togetherness.

Friends, the skies have opened. The tourists are streaming into Thailand. The Jewish tourists are visiting the Chabad centers throughout Thailand in large numbers. Israelis in particular are returning to travel in Thailand.

Israelis, and Jews in general have many opinions. As the famous saying goes, ‘two Jews, three opinions’. Follow the election cycle in Israel and you will see that it’s very difficult to get a consensus.

However, as much as we like to ‘quibble’ between ourselves, we have to take our cue from G-d.

When someone from the outside tries to challenge our right to exist, when anti-Semitism rears its ugly head, we have to close ranks and stand up for each other.

And we do.

We have all seen it time and time again. When there is a real threat, when danger faces us from the outside we stand together.

So lets get one step better.

When times are good. When there is no threat from the outside. Let’s up the ante, and get better at loving and appreciating each other. And at the same time leaving space for each other’s individuality.

As Bil’am said (intending to curse but it was transformed to blessing) ‘How goodly are your tents Jacob, your dwelling places Israel’. This is understood to mean the tent formation of the Jewish people in the desert. In close proximity to each other, but with entrances that didn’t face each other and allowed each family unit their privacy.

Individual. Each one is important. Important to the collective.

Our Sages tell us that the destruction of the Bet Hamkdash was a result of our inability to get along. The antidote is therefore our togetherness.

Next time you think of quibbling with someone else, consider foregoing your point for the sake of Shalom.

Together. Forever.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Our unity is our strength.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

Comments on: anger CANCELLED
There are no comments.