Thinking Torah for This Week

July 22-23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz 5776
Parashat Balak
The Book of Numbers Chapter 22, Verse 2 – Chapter 25, Verse 9 

What can we possibly learn from a story about a talking donkey?

I suppose this is really a silly question, considering the huge number of popular books, movies, and television shows that feature speaking animals, many of which are also classic and powerful vehicles for profound instructions (see Aesop’s Fables, Daniel the Tiger, or Zootopia).

In this week’s Torah reading the talking donkey is the only one who sees that an angel with a burning sword is threatening her rider Bilaam.

Sometimes we need the wisdom of simple creatures to remind us to open up our eyes and see what is really going on around us. This story reminds us that insight can be found everywhere, and that listening deeply may allow us to learn from everyone and everything.

Let us all try to breathe, watch, listen, and open our minds to what we can learn. 

Wishing everyone a truly wonderful week filled with blessings of open minds and well-being,