Dvar Torah Parshat Balak 5770 2010

When Balak sent messengers to Bila’am to come and cast a spell on the Israelites, Hashem appeared to Bila’am in his dream and had a conversation with him which, based on a Midrash, Rashi records. Hashem asked, “Who are these people? Bila’am replied, “They were sent by Balak that I should come and curse the Israelites.” Hashem told him not to go. Then Bila’am said he would curse them from his home. Again Hashem answered “Do not curse them at all.” Then Bila’am said, “I will bless them.” Again Hashem said, “They don’t need your blessings for they are already blessed.”

Then Rashi adds a statement from the Midrash which has become an oft quoted Rabbinic parable, “One says to the hornet: LO MEDUVSHACH VELO ME’UKTZACH, not from your honey nor from your sting.” (Num. 22,12)

What is the meaning of this quotation and what is its implication here? Simply it means I don’t want anything from you; not your good and not your bad.

The Jewish people throughout history have been physically assaulted and harassed by its enemies who tried to annihilate us. It did not work. We were able to withstand the assault. So they tried a different tactic, with kindness. They accepted us into their society and through assimilation we lost great numbers of Jews. This is what the quotation implies. We don’t want your sting and we don’t need your honey. Just let us go our own way.

This is what Hashem was saying to Bila’am. Do not go. Do not curse them and do not bless them. Anything coming from you is harmful to them. Let them live their own way.

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