Do we really see, do we really hear?
עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאֽוּ: they have eyes, but cannot see;
אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַֽאֲזִינוּ they have ears, but cannot hear,
אַף אֵֽין־יֶשׁ־רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶֽם: nor is there breath in their mouths.
From Tehillim/Psalm 135
This week’s parashah is punctuated by a comic interlude.
At the request of the King of Moab, Balak, Bil’am is on his way to curse the Israelites when the donkey on which he is riding sees an angel with a sword blocking the way.
Each time the donkey attempts to evade the danger of the armed angel, Bilaam becomes more enraged. Finally, the donkey simply drops to the floor and refuses to move. At this, Bil’am hits the donkey with a stick.
The ass says: “What have I done for you to beat me three times?”
Bil’am: “You have mocked me. If I had a sword now, I would kill you.”
The ass: “Am I not your ass upon which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you in this way?”
Bil’am sees the angel and realizes that he owes his life to the donkey.
Hazzan Ramón (at your virtual service)
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