Friday, June 25, 2010

Parshas Balak

Sometimes we think ignorance is bliss, that if we didn’t know better then we can’t be accountable for what we did wrong. But there is something called common sense, we have to use our intelligence to try to judge what’s right and wrong.

Something to say:

I have sinned for I did not know (22:34).

In this parshah, the evil prophet Balaam set out to curse the Jews. As the Torah relates, his she-donkey stopped in its tracks three times because an angel, unseen by Balaam, blocked its way. Finally, the angel did become visible to him, and Balaam cried out.

The Sh’lah asks: if Balaam really didn’t know that there was anything wrong with his plan, what was his sin? The answer is that a person is held responsible for that which he should know. God gives each person understanding, and Balaam was intelligent enough to understand that a donkey wouldn’t suddenly veer off the path or stop three times for no reason. Obviously, God was sending him a message.

We can be accountable for sins we have done, even if we haven’t learned about them. Since we should have known better. Or should have taken the time to learn about them, so as not to commit a sin.