Two-Line Torah: Balak 5776–Seeing the Future



July 18, 2016

In our parasha, Balak, king of Moab, hires the prophet Balaam to curse the people Israel, but Balaam instead blesses them. In his blessing, Balaam looks out on the people and declares, “I see them, but not now” (Numbers 24:17).

How could Balaam look out on the people and claim not to see them? The medieval commentator Rashi explains that Balaam meant, “I see the preeminence of Jacob and his greatness, but it is not now; rather it will be after some time.” Balaam in his prophecy could see that Israel would be great, even if their greatness was not yet apparent.

At Hillel, we work with emerging adults as they make their first steps towards independent lives and careers. As professionals in a different stage of life, it can be difficult at times to watch students struggle to establish their adult selves. Yet we know that many will accomplish great things, even if we cannot quite say yet what those will be.

Ben Goldberg is the incoming rabbinic intern at Rutgers Hillel.