A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
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The Holy One, blessed be He, has consideration for the dignity of mankind and, knowing their weakness, He shut the mouth of beasts. For had they been able to speak, it would have been impossible to put them to the service of man or to stand one’s ground against them.
Balaam failed to curse Israel. Worse yet, he failed to win a large reward from Balak. Then a thought occurred to him. Perhaps he could not curse Israel, but he could induce Israel to curse themselves. In Numbers 31:16, we learn that he conspired with the Midianite and Moabite leaders and suggested a plan.
People of faith sometimes speak of God opening and closing doors. This is an idiom that refers to God's divine direction in life. For example, suppose a person set out to take a job in a certain field. He submitted an application for a position for which he was fully qualified. He was confident that the job would be his. Inexplicably, he did not get the position. A person like Balaam would become bitter over the disappointment. A person of faith would say, "God closed that door. He knows what is best. I will look elsewhere."
Though we have not yet heard the shofar blast that will herald the coming of King Messiah, His trumpets are already resounding in our midst. Each time we blow the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, we rehearse the day of His coming. We may not hear the trumpets of Messiah yet, but the unseen world of spiritual darkness certainly does. When Balaam attempted to curse the people of God, he heard the deafening blast of the trumpet of Messiah.
The lesson of the talking donkey illustrates that God is not limited to using only righteous men to deliver His messages. If He can use the mouth of a donkey to get a message across, He can also use the mouth of a wicked man like Balaam. In a sense, Balaam plays the role of God's talking donkey.