From Winnie the Pooh to the donkey in Shrek, children’s literature has many examples of animals who have the ability to speak. And so does Torah! We all know about the snake in the garden of Eden, but some of us may be surprised that this week’s Torah portion, Balak, brings us a talking donkey!
Balak, the King of Moab, is disheartened by the Israelites’ victory over the Amorites, so he hires Balaam, a Moabite soothsayer, to curse the Israelites. As Balaam rides a donkey on his way to carry out the task, God sends an angel to block their way. Balaam is unable to see God’s angel, but the donkey does see it and makes the angel’s presence known to Balaam.
Truth often comes from the most unexpected places. Sometimes our vision of our life’s journey can become clouded and make us unsure of what path to take next. It is times like these when we might find our truth emerging from the most unexpected of places or people. Listening to others isn’t always easy, but by being open and willing to hear those whom we sometimes or often ignore, we might just hear exactly what we need to.
Rabbi Sandra Bellush