Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Balak: Blessings are forever

“And God said to Bilaam: ‘You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people for they are blessed’.” (Numbers 22:12)

Let’s be aware that the One who speaks here is God, “whose loving kindness is forever” because everything about Him is forever, except for his wrath that “lasts one instant”. God’s eternity includes His words because the Torah also is eternal, hence also His blessings. The question that arises from this is, can God’s blessings be cursed by anyone or anything, including a wizard named Bilaam? No is the answer the story in this portion tells us.

The fact that such possibility is presented makes us reflect on the nature of blessings and curses. Is it possible that goodness can be turned into evil? Not a chance. Otherwise, it would be evil disguised as goodness. In our reflections on this subject another question comes up, and is how blessings and curses work in human consciousness. Hence we equate blessings to goodness and curses to evil, from which we must learn in order to make clear choices every moment in which we have to choose.

The easiest way to assimilate these differences is to understand them in terms of the Jewish identity. As we read in the verse above, the children of Israel are blessed because they are God’s blessing. Thus we realize that the blessing and the blessed are the same. In this context, we must assimilate our individual and collective Jewish identity as bearers of goodness in order to be, to have and manifest goodness.

“How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel!” (24:5)

Some of our sages based on oral tradition say that God gave Bilaam the power of prophecy to see the Jewish people in the Messianic era, where only goodness permeates human consciousness and the material world. The “tents” and “dwellings” refer not only to study halls and homes but to the multiple dimensions that consciousness will penetrate in the endless qualities and expressions of goodness.

We can’t grasp the eternal scope of goodness as long as our current cognitive abilities are subjected to perceive and understand the material realm within the limitations evil imposes to goodness. Once we acquire the promised Messianic consciousness, goodness will be the only reference and choice to approach life in the material world. Then we will be capable to enter the “tents” and “dwellings” of goodness, for goodness is the cause and purpose of God’s creation.

“It has been told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord does require of you: only to do justly and to love loving kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

God’s blessing to Israel is destined to reach out to the new dimensions of the expanded Messianic consciousness.

“Water shall flow from his [Israel’s] branches and his seed shall be in many waters; and his king shall be higher than Agag (lit. higher than high) and his kingdom shall be exalted.” (Numbers 24:7)

In Jewish mystical traditions, water is related to thoughts and ideas that ultimately turn into deeds and actions. In the context of the Messianic era, “many waters” represent multiple dimensions in which such deeds and actions will take place. The Jewish king Messiah, as the anchor of this new higher consciousness will be superior to the current human consciousness that Agag represents.

Agag is the name given to the kings of the Amalekite people who are the opposite of Israel’s identity. We understand the latter as the superior quality of goodness that has the ability to transcend the limitations of the negative traits and trends that keep consciousness in its lower levels. Thus we realize that God’s blessing for Israel is eternal as long as the Jewish people embrace the identity this blessing bestows forever.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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