Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Balak

Pirkei Avos describes the main differences between Bil'am and Avrohom Avinu. Rashi mentions or alludes to Avrohom many, many times in his explanations about Bil'am in our Parsha, usually drawing distinction between the two, and always to Avrohom's advantage.

In addition there is a striking parallel/distinction between Bil'am and Avrohom which can be gleaned from Rashi, pointing yet again to the subtle beauty of every word of Rashi.

The pasuk says that Bil'am had two young men with him (22:22). Rashi says this teaches that an important person "should" take two other people (meaning not just one) along when he travels to serve him; this way if one of them needs to excuse himself the other "can fill in for the person who is temporarily indisposed".

Similar, but different: The pasuk in Parshas Vayera (22:3) says that Avrohom took two young men with him on the way to the Akeida. Rashi says that this teaches that an important person "may not" travel without two other people along to serve him; this way if one of them needs to excuse himself the other "will still be with" the important person.

These differences are explained in many different ways by the M'forshei Rashi. My favorite explanation (see Be'er BaSadeh and Gur Aryeh) is based upon the gemoro in Brachos which says that a talmid chochom may not travel at night alone. Avrohom was a talmid chochom, and therefore he was not permitted to travel alone (as the travel included overnights); he must therefore take two people so that if one must excuse himself the talmid chochom will still be accompanied by the other person. The key is that he not be alone.

Bil'am was important, but not a talmid chochom. For an important person who is not a talmid chochom there is no violation if he goes alone, it is simply proper behavior (derech eretz) for him to have someone else along to serve at all times. He takes two people so that if one becomes indisposed the other will still be able to provide the service.

Rashi is explaining that we derive the stricter prohibition about a talmid chochom from Avrohom while we derive the derech eretz about a regular important person from Bil'am.


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

'Sin... Don't Laugh!'
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

The Gift of Time
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

The Art of the Deal and It's Impact
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Reward and Punishment
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Guaranteed Eternity
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Month of Elul: The Power of Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Shlomo Katz - 5770

Prayer for Redemption - It's For The Birds
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> Battling Our Inner Enemy
- 5773

Tapping Into Our Meritorious Pedigree
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

The Wayward Son - What Can He Teach Us?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

ArtScroll

To Do The Impossible
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Uniqueness Of Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

It's War in There
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Parashat Haazinu
Shlomo Katz - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information