Balak 5772–Paul Magy’s Shabbat Torah Study in the D Blog and Shabbat at Adat Shalom-Update

Of course we believe in the power of blessings. We ask for them. We give them. We pray for them. We look forward to them. Interesting that we may believe in the power of blessings (or hope that blessings can be real). When it comes to their opposites—curses, we may call belief in such things superstitious. It is part of our Torah that  curses can be as real as blessings and we are warned against them. Just as the power and mercy of the Almighty can be invoked for blessing, so do we believe that it can be invoked for its opposite. Why do we have such a deep tradition of saying “Kein Eyin Harah” (or however your family may pronounce it or “Pooh, pooh, pooh” which may mean that the curse or evil eye should turn to Pooh.). The point is that we fear and want to ward off the “Evil Eye”. 

This week’s Parasha of Balak contains the story one of the top contenders for the title of most evil and immoral, yet powerful man in Tanach—Bilaam. It is only through God’s actual intervention  that Bilaam’s evil curses were turned to blessings. We can and certainly should be aware of all of our blessings. But are we cognizant of the curses from which we are spared? Do you think of traffic as a curse, but consider the possibility that the traffic kept you from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Are you aware of God’s intervention in your life? Do you look for it? Do you offer blessings? Please never curse anyone (we also believe they can boomerang). May your life be blessed and may you never have a Bilaam in your life. 

Shabbat Services  through most of August (I think) will be held in the Shiffman Chapel. In lieu of the traditional Torah Study that we have been holding, I have been told that our Rabbis will be experimenting with using a more interactive model for their sermons. Rabbi Bergman did this last Shabbat in his Torah Study and it was exceptional. I encourage you to come to Shabbat Services. The Rabbis will be very interested in your feedback. Me too.

 Shabbat Shalom, 

Paul

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