Parashas Balak

The Torah states (Devarim 23:3-4): “An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the congregation of Hashem, even their tenth generation may not enter the congregation of Hashem, unto eternity – because of the fact that they did not greet you with bread and water on the road when you were going out of Egypt, and because he hired against you Bilaam son of Beor, of Pethor, Aram Naharim, to curse you.” The Maggid asks why the Torah needs to give two reasons for barring the Moabites from joining the Jewish People. He answers as follows. We might think that the reason they did not greet us with bread and water was because they did not have enough to share with others, or because they had a natural tendency toward hoarding. If this were the case, their offense would not be so heinous. The Torah therefore adds the second reason, the hiring of Bilaam. The Moabites offered Bilaam a fortune to curse the Jews, although they were not even sure he would succeed: “perhaps I will be able to smite it” (Bamidbar 22:8). Thus, they were clearly neither poor nor tight-fisted. Yet they still failed to offer bread and water to the Jews who were passing through. This failure reflects a fundamental character flaw, making Moabites unfit to join the Jewish People.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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