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Parsha of the Week

         This week’s parsha is a double parsha which is called Parshas Matos and Parshas Masei.These are the last parshas in the book of Bamidbar.

        In this week’s Parsha we will discuss the war with the Midyanim and the death of Bilam. For the past several parshas we were learning about the evil ways of Bilam, and finally, this week we will talk about his death. Just as Bilam’s life was interesting and full of events, his death was also very interesting.

         The Jewish people assembled their army with trumpet blasts, as it is required by the Torah. When the Midyanim saw that there were only 12,000 men, they thought that they will win this war very easily.  The battles were led by 5 Midyanite Kings, which included Bilam as well. One would wonder, what was Bilam doing in Midyan? The truth is he came to redeem his money from the leaders of Midyan. It was Bilam who gave them an advice how to destroy 24,000 Jewish men. He told them to send out Midyanite women and seduce the Jewish men. That’s when plague happened, and it killed 24,000 Jewish men. Now Bilam came to collect his payment for his expert advice. And it happened to be that there was a war. So he went to the battlefield as well.

        Bilam used his magic powers to save himself and the five kings. They flew up in the air until they reached the “Divine Throne”, but Pinchas followed him there. The five kings fell down, and Pinchas had a “little chat” with Bilam. Pinchas explained Bilam how evil he was to Jewish people to give such an advice to Balak which caused to kill 24,000 Jewish men. Afterwords, Pinchas pulled out his sword, and he slew Bilam.

        At the end, the Jewish people won this war, and the soldiers brought back all the treasure (booty), without keeping even one piece of it. Moshe and Elazar, the High Priest, were impressed by the clear and pure mind of the Jewish soldiers, and rewarded them by distributing the treasure (booty).