by Rabbi Dovid Green
This week's reading is filled with points in Jewish perspective which we can
gain from. First, a brief synopsis of the story.
Balak the king of Moav fears for his kingdom after seeing what the Jews had
done to Sichon and Og at the end of last week's parsha. Sichon and Og had
been the protectors of their neighbors, and now they were gone. Balak was
afraid his turn was coming. What could he do? He decided to hire Bilaam the
Prophet to curse the Jews. Then he would be able to at least weaken the
Jews, and prevent them from destroying him. Bilaam eventually comes, but
instead of cursing the Jews, he may only say what G-d lets him say, and he
ends up blessing them.
Bilaam was a true prophet who had contact with G-d. His blessings and curses
were fulfilled. However, he was not permitted to curse the Jews, and the
harm which awaited them was averted. There is a great lesson in this story,
based on the following passage. "Praise G-d all you nations, Laud Him all
kingdoms, for His kindness has been powerful over us etc.(Psalms 117:1-2)"
The obvious question is why should the nations praise G-d for the kindness
He has shown US? It should have said "for His kindness has been powerful
The following story is taken from "Lieutenant Birnbaum", Mesorah
Publications. "War sensitizes one to the workings of Divine Providence, on
both the individual and communal level, more intensely than any other human
experience. And at no time in our lives was Divine Providence so real as
during the invasion at Normandy. Though we did not know it, the German
defenders were leaderless at the time of the invasion. The supreme commander
of the German forces defending the French coastline was perhaps the greatest
of Hitler's generals, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox
for his campaigns in North Africa. Several weeks earlier, Hitler (ym"sh),
had removed Rommel's beloved Afrikan Tank Corps from his command so that it
was not available to in the defense of the French coastline.
Realizing that the weather on June 5 ruled out any possibility of a landing,
Rommel took the opportunity to return to Berlin and plead with Hitler to
place the Afrikan Tanks Corps back at his disposal. June 6 was his wife's
birthday, and he decided to remain in Berlin to celebrate with her rather
than rush back to France. So on the morning of June 6, he was still in
Berlin. The German second-in-command retired early on the night of June 5
leaving instructions that under no circumstances was he to be disturbed.
When his adjutant first received orders of the impending attack, he was
afraid to awake his commander knowing his ferocious temper and fearing he
might be hungover from the previous night's partying. For his part, Hitler
refused to believe the first intelligence reports of a likely allied
invasion of Normandy. He had convinced himself that the invasion would take
place at Dunkirk, much closer to England, and that any move toward Normandy
was at most a feint and diversion. In addition, many of the best German
generals had recently been sent to the Russian front where the German forces
were suffering heavy losses.
On the day of the invasion, the German forces were left without any air
support, and the skies belonged completely to the Allies. The major German
airfield was further down the peninsula. As the invasion was taking place,
only two planes were on base. The rest were elsewhere in training maneuvers
and did not become available until the landing for which they were training
was a fait accompli. The weather also conspired to aid the success of the
invasion and to increase the element of surprise. The strong winds of June 5
abated for only a couple of hours the next day. But when General Eisenhower
received weather reports that the gales would stop for those few hours, he
decided to go ahead, knowing that the element of surprise would be increased
by the bad weather.
Every seeming coincidence can be explained by itself, but taken together
they constitute an unmistakable pattern of Divine Intervention, which anyone
with the slightest sensitivity can perceive. Just consider all of the
apparant coincidences involved.
- Who inspired Rommel to choose precisely that day to return to Berlin to
present his case to Hitler for the return of his beloved tank corps?
- Who prompted Hitler to take command of the tank corps away from Rommel in
the first place and thereby occasion the latter's visit to Berlin?
- Who brought into the world 50 years ealier a baby girl who would grow up
to be Rommel's wife and whose birthday would cause him to remain in Berlin
on June 6 rather than return immediately to France on the night of June 5?
- Who put in in the mind of the Rommel's second-in-command to seclude
himself on the night of June 5 and order his aides not to disturb him?
- Who convinced Hitler to ignore the first reports of the invasion?
- Who led the German commanders to schedule war games for June 5-7 and
leave only two planes in the area?
Truly, "the horse is prepared for battle, but victory belongs to G-d"
The answer to our above question is that Kind David knew that his enemies
were planning against him, but G-d was thwarting their efforts. The enemies
themselves knew better how powerful G-d's kindness is over us seeing that
they could not bring their evil plans to fruition. They were better equipt,
in a sense, to praise G-d for His kindness toward the Jewish people.
The student of Torah takes this as a life's lesson, and he knows that even a
traffic jam can be slowing him down and preventing him from colliding with a
car at a particular intersection. His perspective is that G-d is doing much
much more for us behind the scenes than He is in comparison to the things we
are aware of. May we merit to recognize them.
Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.