Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Chukas-Balak

Rabbi Label Lam

In Order for Nothing to Happen

The expression "No news is good news" takes on greater proportions of meaning as we study the events described in this week's portion. The Omniscient Observer and Narrator of the Torah, unusually so, moves to a side show beyond the immediate focus of the Jewish People for the first time since Abraham enters the spotlight as the individual whose family would be the protagonist of human history. What for?

We are gifted with a box seat to observe in a comedy of errors how the malevolent machinations of Bilaam and Balak are continually frustrated with only impasses on their way to attempt the impossible. We can enjoy from a close distance the volley of folly between two enemies forced into cooperation. We eventually witness their plans unravel and backfire as the intended curses are converted to blessings.

All this transpires as the Jewish People sit securely in their "goodly tents" enjoying the genuine bliss of a G-d centered individual and communal life together. While from hilltops nearby missiles are ready to reign down holy terror and the strange bedfellows of politics born nurse their ugly dreams the innocence of happy Jewish living persists.

Without this perspective we might be lulled into a false sense of security or be unduly induced into a panic mode. It seems there are more secret wars than we can ever count that remain forever the stuff of dreams deferred and damned. We may be more vulnerable than we think and more secure than we presume. We can never know how many times and to what extent we are being spared.

Rabbi Yakov Emden writes in the late 18th century: "Many have tried to injure us, but they were unable to wipe us out. While all the great civilizations have disappeared or been forgotten, the Nation of Israel that clings to G-d is alive today! What will the wise historian answer when he examines this phenomenon without prejudice? Was this all purely by chance? When I contemplated these great wonders they took on greater significance than all the miracles and wonders that G-d performed for our ancestors in Egypt, in the desert, and when they entered Israel. The longer this exile extends, the miracle of Jewish existence becomes more obvious to make known G-d's mastery over nature and history."

Cecil Roth concludes in "History of the Jews": "The preservation of the Jew was not casual. He has endured through the power of a certain ideal based upon the recognition of a higher power in human affairs. Time after time in his history, moreover, he has been saved from disaster in a manner which cannot be described except as "providential". The author has deliberately attempted to write this work in a secular spirit; he does not think that his reader can fail to see in it, on every page, a higher imminence."

In the world that we live in, with overt threats abounding, perhaps the best news we can hope to hear and that which calls for daily recognition is- no news. Paradoxically, plenty has to happen in order for nothing to happen.


Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Label Lam and Project Genesis, Inc.



 

ARTICLES ON VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

Heaven and Earth
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Keeping What We Give
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Appreciating Our Blessings
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5761

ArtScroll

Judaism 101
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Yearning for Eretz Yirsroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Comfort-Able?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

> Mountain of Faith
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Switching Gears
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

The Master Smelter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Kinah for Tisha BAv
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

A Different Light
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

How Ironic
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Nation Destined for Greatness
Shlomo Katz - 5766

The Multilayered Torah
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Basic Tenet of Jewish Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763



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