“God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them! You shall not curse the people because they are blessed’.” (Numbers 22:7)
The question we have to ask is what Balaam represents. Our sages call him Moses’ counterpart among “the nations”. In other words, what Moses represents for Israel, Balaam represents for “the nations”. They also say that Laban, Balaam and the Evil one are the same.
We have said that Moses represents Israel’s highest awareness of the Creator. In the same context Balaam represents not only the lowest awareness of God but also the lowest traits and negative attributes that deny His presence in His creation.
That is why one king of the Canaanite nations (Balak) asked Balaam to curse Israel, because the lowest emotions, passions and instincts (“the nations”) do not recognize God’s love as the creator and sustainer of all, neither love’s redeeming essence. Hence, Israel as the bearer of this sublime awareness, becomes the permanent enemy of the nations.
“Balaam answered and said to Balak’s servants, ‘Even if Balak gives me a house full of silver and gold, I cannot do anything small or great that would transgress the word of the Lord, my God.” (22:18)
Even the lowest awareness of God’s love can’t acknowledge ego’s materialistic illusions. This means that all levels of consciousness (higher and lower) ultimately recognize that all creation comes from God, and is directed by Him.
“How can I curse whom God has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the Lord has not been angered? (23:8)
Ultimately, the lowest levels of human consciousness yearn to live and die in love’s ways and attributes, the ways the children of Israel are destined to follow and manifest as the light for the nations (“To be light for the nations.” [Isaiah 42:6, 49:6]). This means to be the light of the world.
“Who counted the dust of Jacob or the number of a fourth of Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his [Israel’s qualities].” (Numbers 23:10)
Even the lower aspects and expressions recognize the goodness of love manifest by the positive aspects of human consciousness (represented by Israel) the Creator wants us to live by.
“He does not look at evil in Jacob, and has seen no perversity in Israel. The Lord his God is with him, and he has the King’s friendship.” (23:21)
This “friendship” is our permanent connection with God’s love.
In this sense, there is no place for ego’s self-centered and manipulative agenda.
“For there is no divination in Jacob and no soothsaying in Israel.” (23:23)
Ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions do not dwell with God’s ways and attributes. When we live under God’s will, all illusions disappear because we come to the awareness that His love sustains all, including our own illusions.
In this awareness we have to reveal God’s love concealed by illusions and regain Him as our Redeemer from them.
“Behold, one people that rise like a lioness, and raise itself like a lion. It does not lie down until it eats its prey and drinks the blood of the slain.” (23:24)
Hence Israel’s mission is to elevate all aspects of consciousness to the ways of God’s love. This includes turning the lower traits into vibrant and uplifting ways to proclaim and manifest His glory, which is His revealed presence in the material world.
This is the metaphoric meaning of Israel’s strength (lioness/lion) to transform through love the lower aspects of consciousness (our “animal” nature [the prey] and its soul [its blood]) to fulfill our destiny as God’s will.
Our awareness of God’s love is the transforming power for us to turn darkness into light.
“God, who has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness He shall consume the nations [the negative aspects of our consciousness] which are his adversaries [Israel’s], bare their bones and dip His arrows.” (24:8)
In this way, Israel’s destiny is achieved.
“Edom shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph.” (24:18)
Though this victory can’t be achieved if we turn to ego’s illusions of glamour, pride, sophistication and their fantasies.
“Israel settled in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of the Moabites.” (25:1)
“Israel became attached to Baal Peor, and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel.” (25:3)
As we have pointed out in this blog, the “anger” of God’s love is just the anger we experience when we live the emptiness of our separation from Him after we choose to follow our lower emotions, passions and instincts instead of His ways and attributes.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of the people and hang them before the Lord, facing the sun, and then the flaring anger of the Lord will be removed from Israel’.” (25:4)
Once we think, feel, and act with the highest traits and qualities of our consciousness (“the leaders of Israel”) and attach them to the permanent awareness of God’s love and in His light (“facing the sun”) we indeed return to His love.
In this sense, when our highest traits (“the leaders of Israel”) fall into the lowest passions (idolatry), they must be elevated (“hang them”) in order to let Love become our true identity, and be able to live in consonance with God’s will. This as the opposite to living the “flaring anger” we suffer when we separate from Him.
In this awareness there is no anger, envy, lust, indolence, greed, cruelty and negative traits we experience as the result of the sense of lack that causes them.
The haftarah for this portion reaffirms the transmuting power of God’s love with which all illusions disappear.
“And I will destroy sorcery from your graven images, and your monuments from your midst. And you shall no longer prostrate yourself to your handiwork. And I will uproot your Asherim [the inhabitants of the land as an allegory to ego’s negative desires] from your midst, and I will destroy your enemies.” (Micah 5:11-13)
The Creator also reminds us that His love sustains us and redeems us.
“O My people that I have made, and how have I wearied you? Respond against Me. For I brought you out from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” (6:3-4)
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what the Lord demands from you is to do justice, to love loving kindness. And to walk in humbleness with your God.” (6:8)