Balak, king of Moav, is in morbid fear of Bnei Yisrael. He summons a renowned sorcerer named Bilaam to curse them. First,
Bnei Yisrael begin sinning with the Moabite women and worshipping the Moabite idols, and they are punished with a plague. One of the Jewish leaders brazenly brings a Midianite princess into his tent, in full view of Moshe and the people. Pinchas, a grandson of Aharon, grabs a spear and kills both evildoers. This halts the plague, but not before 24,000 have died.
Written In Stone
“The angel of
Rashi comments on the above verse: “An undefined wall is made of stones.”
Of what possible interest or importance could the construction of the wall be?
When Yaakov Avinu made a pact with Lavan he made it on a mound of stones, “This mound shall be witness …that I may not crossover to you past this mound, nor may you crossover to me past this mound …for evil.” (Ber. 31:52)
Bilaam, who was a descendent of Lavan (Sandhedrin 105), overturned this covenant and “passed over for evil” against the children of Yaakov.
Thus his punishment was through stones. The she-donkey pressed his leg against the wall of stones, broke his leg and left him lame, and he was called by all “Bilaam the Lame.” (Sanhedrin 106)
Rashi’s seemingly redundant comment “An undefined wall is a wall of stone” hints to this hidden depth.
- Sources: Toldot Yitzchak and Ayein Chizkuni in Iturei Torah