Friday, July 04, 2014

Balak 5632 First Ma'amar

There is more to the world around us than what we sense with our eyes.  Everything physical has a spiritual aspect to it.  Even those things which our eyes tell us are antithetical to holiness have a spiritual aspect.  They must, otherwise they would not exist.  Those who are on a high spiritual level can sense the spirituality.  

The nation of Israel in the desert was on such a level.  Not only were the people on this level, but their high spiritual level spilled over, so to speak, on their surroundings such that the peoples they passed and with whom they came into contact experienced a Godly revelation as well.  What happens when a person who is not ready for it, experiences a spiritual truth that contradicts the evidence of his own eyes?  The Sfas Emes explains that he denies it and believes, rather, what he sees.  The wicked cannot see the truth. 

This explains the pasuk at the beginning of our parsha, “... עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם הִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת־עֵין הָאָרֶץ .../… a nation went out from Egypt; behold, they have covered the face of the earth …” (Bamidbar 22:5)  The literal translation is, “He has covered the eye of the land.”  “The eye of the land” is a metaphor for eyes which only see the physical.  Balak, as well, experienced the revelation which showed the spiritual to be the ultimate reality, not the material world around him.  From his perspective, though, the exact opposite happened.  The reality of his physical surroundings was covered over with a veneer of spirituality.  This is why he was angry with the nation of Israel.  They were disturbing his view of reality.  

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