Parshat Balak: Blessings are forever (II)

“God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent. When He has said, will He not do it? Or when He has spoken, will He not fulfill it so?” (Numbers 23:19)

In this verse lies the foundation of Judaism, which antagonizes with the majority of religions and spiritual beliefs, and that is the unfathomable and hence impossible to describe conception of the Creator of all.

The Jewish people assimilate their God not as a defined being but as an ethical ruling principle in which goodness is the cause and the purpose of His creation. Thus we understand God’s goodness as frequently proclaimed by King David.

We have mentioned often that all the references of the Creator as a King in the Hebrew Bible are allegories for us humans to understand that goodness is the reigning rule from which life emanates and is also sustained. The world can’t exist without the benefits of goodness in any way.

Thus we understand goodness more as an ethical principle than something given for granted. Hence we see it in the last part of the verse, when Balaam states, “Won’t He fulfill it so? This in reference to the goodness He bestows on His creation in general, and on Israel in particular.

The immutable principle of cause and effect is the conditional quality for goodness to be manifest. We come to know goodness in the moment to moment exercise of free will, by making distinctions based on the effects, results or consequences of our actions.

“Behold, I am bidden to bless; and when He has blessed, I cannot call it back.” (23:20)

Once goodness is manifest, in its dynamics generates more of what already is, always adding and multiplying, instead of subtracting and dividing as it occurs with the negative dynamics of wickedness. Thus we understand God’s blessing to Abraham.

“I bless those who bless you, and I curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” (Genesis 12:3)

Israel is blessed by being chosen to live by the primordial ethical principle that goodness is as also destined to be the blessing for all humankind.

This will happen once we wage the ultimate war against the negative traits and trends in human consciousness, and completely erase evil from the face of the earth, as God commands us in the Torah, and initiate the final redemption and the advent of His promised Messianic era.

This is what God allowed Balaam to see. It is evident that there was no need for God to force the wicked prophet to say anything except for what he saw, the time and space where only goodness prevails in all levels and expressions of life.

“How goodly are your tents, Jacob; your dwellings, Israel!” (Numbers 24:5)

Because life is about goodness.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry, descendants of Jews forced to convert to Christianity. Studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota. He lived 20 years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. Moved to Israel in 2004, converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2006 in Jerusalem. He lived in Safed for four years studying the Chassidic tradition and currently lives in Haifa.
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