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Sunday, December 10, 2023 - 27 Kislev 5784
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Power of the Voice
This week we read the Torah portion of Balak. The story of the portion in short: Balak the king of Moab heard about the fall of Sichon king of Emori and Og king of Bashan, the two kings who were entrusted with securing the entrance of the Land of Canaan against the Israelite invasion. Balak understood that the Israelites did not win because of military superiority. In order to pinpoint the source of their strength, he sent messengers to the land of Midian, where Moses had lived for years before returning to Egypt to lead the Jewish people.

The Midianites replied unequivocally: “His power is only in his voice.”

Balak decided to fight fire with fire. He enlisted the help of Bilaam, a known sorcerer, and asked him to curse the Jewish people. However, despite Bilaam’s talents in the dark arts, he was not able to fulfill his mission. Whenever he opened his mouth to curse, the most beautiful blessings emerged.

The principle our strength being “in the mouth” has accompanied the Jewish people from the days of Moses through the leadership of Joshua, the judges, King David and Solomon and other kings until the twenty-first century. There is no natural, political or military explanation for the continued survival of the Jewish people in the face of wars, persecution, expulsions, pogroms and genocide. 

Even today, those who believe that our safety and security is thanks only to our military strength, or that our future is dependent on political machinations, are making a bitter mistake. Enemies of Israel continue to lie in wait to destroy us and the calls for our destruction become more strident by the day. Despite our precarious situation, G-d has intervened time and again to protect His people.

We cannot underestimate the power of prayer and mitzvot to protect our people and safeguard our Holy Land. Of course we cannot sit idly and wait for miracles. On the contrary: Moses, Joshua, the judges and the Jewish kings throughout the ages went to battle at the front of the people, and did not hesitate to strike the enemy. However, they never forgot that salvation is in the hands of G-d. They made all necessary military preparations while remembering first and foremost that “our power is only in our voice.”

During all of Israel’s many wars of survival, the IDF soldiers fought valiantly and we are indebted to them for their courage and sacrifice, may G-d avenge the blood of the fallen. At the same time, during every war there were countless amazing miracles that proved to the world that the Guardian of Israel “does no slumber and does not sleep.” Even when missiles were shot into heavily populated areas there were almost no casualties, bringing to mind the verse in Psalms, “If G-d does not protect a city, in vain do we hire watchmen.”

Our sages say that King Ezekiah was supposed to be Moshiach and redeem the people, but was found unworthy because he did not thank G-d for the miracles that were done for him. The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that we must publicize the miracles G-d does for us, and this will hasten the Redemption.

Let’s remember that our power is only in our voice. We need to pray and thank G-d for all the goodness He does for us, for the miracles and wonders He has done in the past and to this day. Through this we will merit the fulfillment of the words of our prophets, that the days of mourning will be transformed to joy, speedily in our days.



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