Parshat Balak

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The Best Things In Life Are Different When They Come For Free

June 22, 2013 14 Tammuz, 5773

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Balak
protected by the Two Tablets of Stone written by the "Finger of G-d" about which it is said that they are "written from this side This week's parsha and from this side". contains the Obviously, this is a play on remarkable story words. However, there involving Bilaam and must be something deeper his donkey "The here as well. There must be donkey saw the angel something about the of Hashem standing Luchos concerning which it on the road with his is written "m'zeh u'm'zeh sword drawn in his hem kesuvim" that is the hand, so the donkey antithesis and the antidote turned away from the for all that Bilaam stands road and went into the for. What is the field; then Bilaam interpretation of this struck the donkey to Medrash? I saw an turn her back onto the interesting explanation road. The angel of from the Tolner Rebbe, Rav Hashem stood in the Yitzchak Menachem footpath of the Weinberg shlit"a, of vineyards, a fence on Jerusalem, in his Sefer this side and a fence Heimah Yenachamuni. on that Chaza"l say on the pasuk site." [Bamidbar "There never again arose in 22:23-24] Israel one like Moshe" [Devarim 34:10] The Medrash writes in that in Israel there never Bamidbar Rabbah that arose one like Moshe, but this scenario of "the amongst the nations of the fence on this side and world there was such an a fence on this side" individual. Who was that? It was a message to was Bilaam, the son of Bilaam: You will never Beor. The Almighty be able to have any anticipated the argument effect on these people, from the nations of the for these people are world "if we had for ourselves a prophet of the stature of Moses we would have turned out better." He did not want the nations to argue "It was not fair. It was not a level playing field." Therefore, the Almighty made Bilaam – the prophet of the nations – equal to Moshe in prophecy. The problem is that Bilaam is one of the most despicable characters in all of Tanach. He is the paradigm of the person who has rotten Midos. Tractate Avos catalogs his evil character traits. He was arrogant, he was lustful, he was jealous, and he was greedy. Name a bad trait – he had it! In addition to having all these bad traits, he was an immoral person. The Gemara infers [Sanhedrin 105] that the donkey he rode on by day was also the creature that serviced him at night as well. How could it be that a person who was gifted with such prophecy and with such


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Shabbat Announcements Parshat Balak 5773

understanding of the Almighty could remain the most despicable amoral and immoral person there is? The answer is because it was a gift on the part of the Ribono shel Olam that he should have this prophecy. Prophecy under normal circumstances is earned and achieved after years and years of work and self-improvement. Prophecy received "for free" is of a different nature. The Mesilas Yesharim, Pathways of the Just, goes through the various human traits (based on the Beraisa regarding Rav Pinchas ben Yair) that are necessary to acquire in order to ultimately reach the top of the spiritual pyramid – Ruach HaKodesh, Divine inspiration. A person must work his way through all the other attributes in Mesilas Yesharim in order to reach Divine Inspiration, let alone prophecy. A Jew who takes the life-long process spelled out by the Ramcha"l in Mesilas Yesharim reaches the ultimate destiny of Ruach HaKodesh and then Nevuah, prophecy. Bilaam, on the other hand, received it all one day as a gift. There was no self-improvement. There was no working on himself. The Master of the Universe gave it to him "for free" for the reason we mentioned – so that the nations would not have a "complaint" against Him. But Bilaam remained the same horrible person he had always been, who had just received the gift of prophecy without working for it. Therefore there was no contradiction. We can understand this dichotomy by considering the following scenario. One person works hard at his business, putting in long hard hours and effort to build it up from scratch. Little by little, he is successful. The business expands, and then later it expands even further following additional successes. Finally, it becomes a public corporation and the entrepreneur winds up becoming a multimillionaire. That kind of person can usually handle wealth because he knows what it was to be poor and he knows how hard it is to make a dollar. He
Great Neck Synagogue Shabbat Activities Program

knows it is not "easy come; easy go". However, another person, who only has an 8th grade education, suddenly wins the Power Ball lottery and now comes into 250 million dollars. Often, such people do not know how to handle their wealth. There are stories galore of these types of people who had such wealth ruin their lives because they do not know how to handle money. They are taking all this money into a "vessel" that is not worthy of that money. This was the scenario with Bilaam. "You Bilaam will never have an effect on the Jewish people because the Jewish people have the Luchos that are written on this side and this side, engraved on the tablets". When a person wants to describe something as being permanent, the expression used is "carved in stone". The allusion the Medrash is making by saying that Klal Yisrael have the Luchos which are written "from this side and from this side" is saying that what the Jewish people have achieved they have achieved through hard work, such that it becomes a permanent part of their being, etched in stone, as it were. Bilaam, however, you are just a flash in the pan. What you have been given in prophecy is not part of your essence. You will never be able to have an effect on them.

Dale Polakoff, Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Wolf ,z”l, Rabbi Emeritus Ze’ev Kron, Cantor Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director Zehava & Michael Atlas, Youth Directors Mark Twersky, Executive Director Rabbi Avraham Bronstein, Program Director Dr. Scott Danoff, President Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board



Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club   

GOING FISHING (again!) Have a fun day, bring the whole family  On the CAPT. PETE from Freeport, NY (30 minutes from Great Neck) on Sunday, JUNE 30, 2013    The boat will be departing at 9:00 am, with the return to dock at 1:30 pm  The cost, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $48 per person  $36 for children 6‐12 (no children under 6)  (the first 6 kids 12 and under free with paying adult–1 per family)     Contact Steve Blumner 639‐8941, Mark Friedman 482‐1062 or Hilly Milun 448‐4890       I am going fishing! Children under 17 MUST be accompanied by an adult 

Name ____________________________________    Phone # ___________________    Number of adults and teenagers  _________ at $48 per person    $ _______________    Number of children 12 and under _________ at $36 each              $ _______________    Total (Check attached made out to GNS MENS CLUB)             $ _______________ 

GNS UPCOMING EVENTS HASHKAMA MINYAN Kiddush is sponsored by Annie & Robert Mendelson in honor of the graduation of their son Eli from RAMAZ Upper School. PEREK IN THE PARK This Saturday afternoon from 5-6 pm we will meet at Allenwood Park for a Pirkei Avos Class for Adults. There will be Youth Programming for all ages. MEN’S CLUB UPCOMING EVENTS TUES. JUNE 18, 8Pm The third in our Medical Forum series features two Gastroenterologists, Dr. Robert Herman and Dr. Alex Novogrudsky. They will educate and inform you on subjects from prevention of Heartburn and Acid Reflux down to why and how often should you have a colonoscopy. See page three. SUN. JUNE 30: Annual Fishing trip. $48.00 per person, $36.00 for children 6-12. (first 6 children free) for more information contact Steve Blumner, Mark Freidman or Hilly Milun. See bottom of page three. SUN. AUG 25, 1:00PM: Join us for "Jewish Heritage Day" at CitiField, where the NY Mets will be playing the Detroit Tigers. Details to follow. SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAM Our summer learning program will be taking place this summer Beginning July 2. Dates for the remaining classes are July 9, 23 and 30th and August 6 and 13. Sponsors are welcome. To sponsor or dedicate a day of learning at $180 please contact Rabbi Lichter at or General sponsorships are available at $100 per family. SISTERHOOD Krav Maga event! We've scheduled it for Monday, July 1st at 8 PM, in the Braun Youth Center. We have to pay for the instructors, so please, if you do reserve a place, we really need you to come. Prepayment is required. Please send in your checks directly to Judy Lillien at 35 Margaret Court, Great Neck, NY 11023. We are considering a small charge for walk ins - instead of $10 charge, we'll charge $15 that night. Please, if you are interested in attending, email Judy at Thank you so much to Judy for organizing this event for us!!! ROSH HASHANAH SCOPE MAGAZINE Please submit all articles, advertisements, photos, and recipes for the Rosh Hashanah SCOPE magazine edition by Monday, July 1st to Diane Rein at Thank you. We invite you to become a SCOPE sponsor for three issues $100 or a single issue $36.Rosh Hashanna greetings are also welcome at $36 each. HIGH HOLIDAYS With the High Holidays taking place right after Labor Day, we are asking that all members take care of their outstanding financial obligations in a timely manner to insure that seats for the holidays will be able to be sent out. Those in arrears will not be able to obtain their seats unless arrangements for payment have been made. If you have any questions, please speak to Mark Twersky or Elie Cohen our Treasurer. WITHIN OUR FAMILY Mazal Tov to Lauren & Joseph Hyman on the upcoming marriage of their daughter Abigail to Daniel Elsant, son of Gail & Dr. Martin Elsant. Mazal Tov to Jerome Goodman on the upcoming marriage of his granddaughter Lielle Levy daughter of Lynn & Igal Levy, to Jeffrey Sugar. Mazal Tov to Chaim & Mimi Hirsch on the engagement of his daughter Elisheva to Ben Rubin. Mazal Tov to Rita Gordonson on her granddaughter Hanna Tzvia Culang’s graduation from Mayanot. Mazal Tov also to parents Sara & Jay Culang.

PARLOR MEETING There will be a Parlor Meeting for RCCS Refuah Cholim Cancer Society on Monday June 24, 7:30 pm at the home of Magda & Sam Yehaskel, 23 Old Mill Road. SAVE THE DATE: Monday July 1, Fresh Meadows Country Club the NSHA will be holding its 10th ANNUAL GOLF, TENNIS, MAHJONGG & SPA CLASSIC for great golf (11:30 am shotgun), tennis (ladies at 9:30am followed by lunch & men's at 2:30pm), card games/ mahjong lessons, brunch, BBQs and a sunset cocktail party with our million dollar Jet Blue Challenge followed by a buffet dinner, with prizes, raffles and auctions. This years honorees are Karen & Robert Spitalnick. For additional information re: sponsorships/ participation please email Arnie Flatow at or call 487-8687 ext 133.


Saturday, 14 Tammuz Trudy Friedman for Carl Lederer Hyman Katz for Israel Katz Edward Mazur for Phil Mazur Dale Polakoff for William Rosenzweig Phyllis Safdieh for Aaron Shampan Sunday, 15 Tammuz Samuel Levitt for Geraldine Levitt Tina Machnikoff for Philip Machnikoff Kenneth S. Magida for Bessie Magida Daniella Muller for Philip Machnikoff Payman Rabiei for Gohar bat Benyamin Monday, 16 Tammuz Blanche Goldstein for Isidore Rubin Tuesday, 17 Tammuz Carol Adamsky for Abraham Adamsky Elena Berkowitz for David Fridman Rafael Gad for Sara Gad Leslie Kahn for Nathan Kahn Arthur Pomerantz for Ruth Pomerantz Payman Rabiei for Pari bat Meyer Wednesday, 18 Tammuz Marc Gottlieb for Herman Gottlieb Morris Nasser for Rafael Nasser Thursday 19, Tammuz Susan Goldman for Oscar Ring Asher Pirouzian for Ayoub Pirouzian Friday 20, Tammuz Felix Glaubach for Baruch Glaubach Myra Honig for Joan Scheiner Leo R. Mindick for Sam Rubinstein Rose Weiss for Sabina Fajg

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