Divrei Torah - Bilam remarks in the Torah section of Balak (Bamidbar 24:5), “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel.”

How Goodly are Your Tents

RABBI YISRAEL KANIEL

RABBI YISRAEL KANIEL

Administrator and Rabbinical Advisor of B'Ahavat Yisrael

As one of his forced forms of recognition of the positive nature of the children of Israel, Bilam remarks in the Torah section of Balak (Bamidbar 24:5), “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel.”
 
In commenting on this verse (Daniel Yaakov Travis, A Voice in the Darkness, pp. 251-252), R. Moshe Sternbuch suggests a profound meaning in these words.
 
These words, R. Sternbuch opines, describe the exalted stature of the Jewish people.  Whereas the name “Jacob” represents the physical aspect of the Jewish people, the name “Israel” connotes the spiritual aspect of the Jewish people.
 
The Jewish people’s physical needs, R. Sternbuch suggests, are similar to a tent – a temporary abode in this transient world.  The Jewish people’s spiritual endeavors, however, are like the Mishkan (the Hebrew word being used for dwelling place in the verse), which, although being only a temporary resting place for the Divine Presence, served as the nation’s spiritual focal point for hundreds of years and is still the model for Jewish homes until this day.
 
R. Sternbuch concludes that if we properly adopt this world outlook, considering our many physical needs as fleeting temporary matters whereas we view our brief spiritual opportunities as an “investment in perpetuity”, we will merit seeing the words of this verse fulfilled as a blessing in our lives and homes today.  May we, indeed, merit fulfillment of this blessing in our lives today and for ever after.

Share:

On Key

Related Posts

Living in Isolation

The Torah portion of Tazria begins with a small section on the procedure to be followed pursuant to the birth of a child: “When a

Dvar Torah-G-d asked Noah to occupy his time for 120 years to build an ark in order that anyone who would see him should wonder and ask about it

Late to Base

A story is told of a group of soldiers who were on leave from the Israeli Army.  This group was given a number of hours, perhaps

Divrei Torah-The reason Yishmael was saved was not only as a result of being judged based on his present status

Beginning of a Rivalry

The Torah section of Lekh Lekha marks the beginning of a rivalry – a long standing rivalry that continues to this day.  We read in

Divrei Torah “By the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread”

Appreciating the Simple Life

 On Pesach, we celebrate G-d’s forging us into a free and independent nation with no one to answer to except for Him.  A couple months