Dvar Torah Parshat Balak 5771 2011

Man’s superiority over animals stems from his ability to speak. Through speech he can convey to others and particularly to the next generation the information he accumulated and they can build upon his knowledge. That is how modern man has been able to make such technical progress.

We read an intriguing incident in the story of Bilam. The beast upon which he was riding suddenly starts talking to him. There is a deep moral implication in this episode. Bilam was going to misuse his gift of speech. He was going to use it to curse the Jewish people. That was not why the gift of speech had been given him.

When his beast started talking to him he was being informed that his talent of speech no longer places him above his animal. The way he was abusing his speech puts him at the same level with his dumb animal.

Humans should be grateful for their power of speech but they must be ever mindful not to exploit it and to use it for the good purpose it was intended.

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