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Friday, July 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Chukas / Balak

People often point to the beginning of Chukas – the parah adumah – as the true test of emunah. Laws and principles that are logical are surely easier to follow. Decrees which we cannot possibly hope to fully understand test our belief in the Torah on a much higher level.


However, I have always felt that it is actually parshas Balak which is the ultimate parsha of emunah. We surely believe in the Divine authorship of the Torah from beginning to end. However, an overwhelming majority of the Torah is in the form of anecdotes which could certainly have been passed down through the generations all the way to Moshe. In other words, most of the Torah could have been authored by man, in theory. Parshas Balak veers sharply from that paradigm. Almost the entire parsha is a story that takes place completely out of view of Moshe and the rest of the nation. The only way any author could possibly have been aware of all the intricate details of this episode is through Divine inspiration or prophecy. Believing the authenticity of parshas Balak is therefore a declaration of belief in the Divine authorship of the Torah.


This parsha is also directly associated with emunah in that it highlights the depth of what is constantly transpiring behind the scenes and all that HaShem does to protect us. The story of vaheiv besufah (21:14) in Chukas is perhaps an even better example. This helps us appreciate how much of this world we are unaware of and therefore, how much we simply don't understand. Once again, this is a pertinent theme for this time when so much is going on around us which we can't even hope to understand.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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