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Why was the Minister of Defense replaced? - Balak

Wednesday, 17 July, 2019 - 10:59 am

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During the days preceding the 6 Day War, everyone in Israel was worried and afraid. In those critical hours, the people demanded to replace the Minister of Defense, Levi Eshkol, something that was indeed realized. But why? It was because when he spoke in the radio to update the country about the situation, he stumbled on his words, resulting in everyone panicking even more than they were before.

A good leader is judged in times of crisis. He or she needs to be a source of strength for the people and not the opposite, as was King Balak in this week’s Parasha.

The Parasha tells us that Balak, King of Moav, heard that the Israelites defeated the Emorites, and consequently, all the people of Moav feared the Jews. How did a piece of news that the king received, influence the entire people?

The scholar Rashi explains that Balak could not resist and keep it secret. The people of Moav did not have the necessary strength to fight the Jewish people in any case, this is why Balak called the sorcerer Bilam to curse the Jewish people and fight them with non-conventional weapons. Then, why did the King need to reveal this military secret to everyone and cause them to panic?

On the contrary, in last week’s Parasha, we saw Moses worrying about the war with Og, the King of Bashan. Many years before, Og had helped Avraham and therefore he had received the blessing of a very long life. Now, Moses was afraid that the merit of this good action would help him win the war. G-d reassured Moses that everything will go well, and indeed, the Jewish people won. Note however, that only Moses was worried, and that he shared his fears with G-d only.

There are people like Balak, who are governed by their heart and their instincts, and react impulsively. There are people like Moses, who listen to their heart, but their mind is the one that eventually decides.

Who would you like to emulate?

Shabbat Shalom!

Hanna

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