Shabbat Shalom with a Heart Healthy Dose of Torah – Chukat – Balak
Do our ears here what our mouths are saying? This line repeats throughout the Rabbinic tradition. We speak about “non-Israelite Biblical figures” as being the “other” when it comes to God. Yet, God speaks to Jacob’s father-in-law, to Moses’ father-in-law, and this week, to Bilaam. None are MOTs (Members of the Tribe), and yet, each converses with God. How could this happen if they are outside of God? Do your ears hear what your mouth is saying?
What if we did something radical! Let’s actually read our texts and realize that while the stories may be about “our people,” they are never exclusive of everyone else!
God does not pick and choose any more than any loving parent can. We pick and choose, but our choices can never bind God. It just doesn’t work that way. Not one of us can know everything, yet many of us seem to think we know enough to exclude others. Even those who deny God’s existence don’t have the power to make God non-existent. Everyone believes in something. Each of my children have a unique relationship with me. Sometimes, they denied my dignity. That didn’t mean I wasn’t dad.
So, God speaks to Bilaam this week and instructs him to be part of the blessing. Bilaam then goes out and looks over the encampment of Israel and stands in awe, exclaiming, “how wonderful is this nation?”
God speaks, not God speaks to only you or me, but to everyone listening. Scripture teaches us that even the people we call our enemy are also in touch with God. Let’s chew on that for a while.