Perhaps ironically, the parsha named ‘Balak’ in the Torah (Numbers 22:2-25:9) — because that name of the king of Moab appears right up front in the text — is really more about Bilaam (aka ‘Balaam’ in some English translations) — who would be the ancient equivalent of the most well-known ‘televangelist’ of his times. (And, perhaps the similarities don’t stop there…)

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at at the parsha which stands out because of how dramatically it departs from most of the rest of the narrative we’ve come to expect: neither Moshe, or Aaron, or any of the sons of Israel appear directly in the story at all. But that’s just the beginning.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha

During the Sabbath teaching, Mark suggests that this is a parsha which might appear to be ‘out-of-place,’ but certainly could offer insight into a LOT of different questions. Perhaps the one that most of the midrash tends to emphasize is Why? Why this people?

But there are other questions raised here, too? Does Bilaam – like Pharoah, perhaps – really have “free choice” in this situation?

This story not only resonates on SO many levels with things that are happening right now, but also with our whole understanding of free will, coercion, deception, and who is truly able to make choices that impact our lives.

Choose LIFE! But when?

And just when does that choice, or action based on it, become irreversible – fatal – and he “knew or SHOULD have known?”

“Balak: Why this story? – or – Difficult Choices”

The combined two-part podcast is here: