Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states in Parshas V’zos Habracha, ולא קם נביא עוד בישראל כמשה אשר ידעו ה’ פנים אל פנים there was no prophet like Moshe Rabbeinu whom Hashem became known to him face to face. The Sifrei explains, a prophet will not stand up amongst Yisrael, however amongst the nations there will stand up. Who is this? Bilam. This seems that Bilam reached the level of Moshe Rabbeinu in regards to prophecy.

The Ramban however says that no one ever reached the level of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe received prophecy face to face, meaning with clarity and recognition. The message was said with its intent and was completely understood. Also, Hashem would speak to Moshe in varies subjects and at any time without warning, and Moshe received prophecy while standing up, whereas Bilam would contemplate and concentrate about a specific idea which he anticipated to prophesize. He would prepare himself at a certain time to receive this type of prophecy and hoped that Hashem would send it him. Also, the passuk states about Bilam נופל וגלוי עינים which Onkelos translates as “while laying down, the prophecy would be revealed to him.” The Ramban adds this reflects a degrading way of receiving prophecy. The prophecy was above and beyond him which he could contain.

Although the nations were not given a prophet equal to Moshe Rabbeinu, they were given a prophet which could have inspired them. Now they won’t be able to claim, if we would had a prophet we also would have served Hashem. They were given Bilam and he only tried to curse Bnei Yisrael in order to destroy them.

The passuk states that Bilam says about himself נאם הגבר שתם העין which Onkelos translates “says the man who sees well.” The Ramban explains that the lashon שתם means opened; Bilam bragged about himself that his eye is open with excellent sight. The following passuk states אשר מחזי שקי יחזה which sees the vision of Shakkai. Bilam again bragged about himself that he is an unbelievable prophet who is able to see great visions.

The Nefesh HaGer explains that Bilam bragged about himself his extreme level of prophecy, that he was able to see well, even the vision of Shakkai face to face just like Moshe Rabbeinu who was the greatest prophet of Yisrael. The end of the passuk states נופל וגלוי עינים which Onkelos translates “while laying down it would be revealed to him.” These words come to dispute Bilam’s arrogance, reflecting the exact opposite. It is impossible for you to claim that you see face to face because you only receive a prophecy while laying down! It is absolutely not true, you are boasting falsely about yourself.

In davening we say משפיל גאים ומגביה שפלים, Hashem lowers the haughty and raises up ones with humility. Hashem lowered Bilam who was arrogant and raised Moshe who was the most humble of men to be the greatest prophet.  May we be amongst the humble ones who Hashem raises!

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