The following Inspirational message is being presented in memory of Nechama bas Gadil, Mrs. Nora Zukierman of blessed memory.
A THOUGHT FOR ``THE THREE WEEKS``
This Thursday, July 9th, 17 Tammuz, is the fast day of ``Shiva Asar B`Tammuz``, the day that inaugurates the solemn season known as ``The Three Weeks`` in which time in history the siege of Jerusalem began culminating with `Tisha B`Av`, the nefariuos day that our Bais Hamikdash, the Holy Temple, was destroyed.
Our Rabbis taught that the reason that the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed was because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred. The Talmud relates the story of the incident that brought the calamity on the Jewish people. You can read the account here.
In last week’s Parsha there is an interesting observation made by Rav Zalman Sorotzkin. Bilaam, a sorceror, is hired by Balak, the ruler of Moav to curse the Children of Israel. A delegation comes to escort Bilaam to Moav to carry out Balak`s evil plans. Hashem transforms each of Bilaam`s attempts to curse Israel into blessings.
On the way to Moav, Bilaam`s donkey is able to discern an angel with its sword drawn blocking the road impeding their path. Bilaam is unable to see the angel. The donkey backs away causing her master, Bilaam, to be injured. This apparition appears three times warning them not to continue. At the third time, Bilaam unsheathes his sword and threatens to kill the donkey.
Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin (in Aznayim LeTorah) explains Bilaam’s reaction to his donkey; “Lu Yaish Cherev Beyadi…”, “If I would have a sword in my hand I would kill you!” Rav Sorotzkin zt’l brings a Medrash that says that the donkey exclaimed: “You can only kill me by the sword, yet you wish to destroy an entire nation (Bnei Yisroel) with your mouth!”
Why indeed would Bilaam need a sword to kill the animal, and not curse it to kill it? He explains that Bilaam’s ability to effectively curse was by finding faults and sins in his subjects and thereby giving the koach hatumah, the forces of impurity, power to act on them and cause his curse to be fulfilled in them.
Conversely, the brachos and tefilos, (blessings and prayers) of the righteous are effective by finding virtue and zechusim (merits) in his subjects, thereby giving the koach hakedusha, the forces of holiness, the power to elevate them and make them worthy of the blessings of the Torah reserved for those who do good. Since there is no bad or good in animals, as animals do not have free will, the curses have nothing to attach themselves to, so Bilaam couldn’t use his power of cursing on the donkey and could only kill him with the sword.
As we approach the Three Weeks let us remember that the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam. Let us utilize the middah of the tzaddik and find virtue and zechusim in others. Let us grasp the middah of being dan l’kaf zechus, giving the benefit of the doubt and seeing the good in others thereby counteracting the sin of baseless enmity that brought about the destruction of our Holy Temple. Through looking at others favorably we will attain every bracha that one can achieve and Hashem may look upon us as worthy to merit the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash and the Holy city of Jerusalem.