Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi

Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi
Portrait of Hacham Agassi painted by Mrs Ruth Gila, Beit Meir , Israel

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Abraham and Bilaam

אברהם ובלעם

Here we shall note a further fundamental correspondence between Avraham and Bilaam; the former for purity and the latter for impurity.

In verse 6 above it is written:

6.’And now please come and curse (for) me this People- וְעַתָּה לְכָה נָּא אָרָה לִּי אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה(1926 =18 counting final Mem as 600) for they are too mighty for me; perhaps I shall prevail, we may smite it and I shall expel them out from the land-כִּי עָצוּם הוּא מִמֶּנִּי אוּלַי אוּכַל נַכֶּה בּוֹ וַאֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִן הָאָרֶץ (1527+11 words=1538=17=8)for I know that whoever you bless is blessed and whoever you curse is cursed-כִּי יָדַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר תְּבָרֵךְ מְבֹרָךְ וַאֲשֶׁר תָּאֹר יוּאָר(3635=18).
This is similar wording to the blessing that Hashem gave to Avraham (Genesis 12.3):

3.’And I will bless those that will bless you, and he who curses you I will curse-וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר (954=18); and through you shall all the families of the earth be blessed- וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה (1719=18 counting final Kaf as 500).
The very fact that Bilaam wanted to curse Israel meant that in fact he was cursing himself. He ended up blessing Israel but at the same time cursing himself with the same words, as according to the blessing that Abraham received any blessing for Israel is a curse for him and those that hate Israel. This too Bilaam did not understand as he was “blind” in one eye-  שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן.

Indeed our Sages teach us that Bilaam is the opposite (nemesis) of Avraham in all of his manners. In Masechet Avot (5.19) it is written:

Whoever possesses the following three traits is of the disciples of our Father Abraham; and whoever possesses the opposite three traits is of the disciples of thewicked Bilaam. The disciples of our father Abraham have a good eye, a meek spirit and a humble soul. The disciples of the wicked Bilaam have an evil eye, a haughty spirit and a gross soul.
כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הַלָּלוּ, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ. וּשְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים אֲחֵרִים, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁעעַיִן טוֹבָה, וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ.עַיִן רָעָה, וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע.
This conclusion is supported from the following gematriot: 

Abraham- a good eye, and a meek spirit and a humble soul

אַבְרָהָם - עַיִן טוֹבָה וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה וְנֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה

2872+ 7 words=2879=26=8 (final letters)

Bilaam- an evil eye, and a haughty spirit and a gross soul

בִּלְעָם - עַיִן רָעָה וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה

The joint gematria of the three traits of Avraham is:
·         A good eye-              עַיִן טוֹבָה= 802 (Nun 700)
·         A meek spirit-       רוּחַ נְמוּכָה = 335
·         A humble soul-    נֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה = 845
1982+6 words=26=8

The joint gematria of these three traits of Bilaam is:
·         An evil eye           -  עַיִן רָעָה   =1055 (Nun 700)
·         A haughty spirit-   רוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה  =235
·         A gross soul-          נֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה  =645
The Mishna continues:

What is the difference between the disciples of our father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked Bilaam? The disciples of our father Abraham benefit in this world and inherit the World to Come, and as is stated, "To bequeath to those who love Me there is, and their treasures I shall fill" (Proverbs 8:21). The disciples of the wicked Bilaam inherit purgatory and descent into the pit of destruction, as is stated, "And You, G-d, shall cast them into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men, they shall not attain half their days. And I shall trust in you" (Pslams 55:24).
מַה בֵּין תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ לְתַלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע. תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ, אוֹכְלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֲלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ח), לְהַנְחִיל אֹהֲבַי יֵשׁ, וְאֹצְרֹתֵיהֶם אֲמַלֵּא.אֲבָל תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע יוֹרְשִׁין גֵּיהִנָּם וְיוֹרְדִין לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים נה), וְאַתָּה אֱלֹהִים תּוֹרִידֵם לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים וּמִרְמָה לֹא יֶחֱצוּ יְמֵיהֶם, וַאֲנִי אֶבְטַח בָּךְ:
This conclusion is further proved from the following gematriot:

Abraham- benefits in this world and inherit the World to Come

אַבְרָהָםאוֹכְלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֲלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא 

846=18 or 3826=18 (final letters)

Bilaam- inherits purgatory and descent into the pit of destruction

בִּלְעָם- גֵּיהִנָּם וְיוֹרְדִין לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת

2053=10=1 or 4473=18 (final letters)

Every person is faced with obstacles and choices in life. Only choosing a life of Torah ensures life in this world and the World to Come. This is what Avraham chose and he received the Blessing of the Land.

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