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Bilams Strategy

Written by Shmuel, 8/7/2019


There is an old saying that goes like this: “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on you, fool me three times shame on me”. The message behind the saying is simple, we are all prone to getting fooled, but when it happens for the third time, we should have realized what was going on and not fallen again for the same scheme.


Bilam was no stupid man, an evil man- yes, but not a fool, so what was he thinking giving it a third try to curse Klall Yisroel? After witnessing his first two attempts fail miserably, why did he attempt a third time? Didn’t he realize that Hashem was not going to allow him to curse the nation he chose?


The Gemarah in Brachos tells us that if one prayed and his Teffilos were not answered he should pray again.  If we are in need and we want our Teffilos to be answered we have to keep davening. The way to get a Tefillah answered is by davening again.

In Parshas Vo’eschanan after Moshe Rabbeinu davens hundreds of times to be allowed into Eretz Yisroel Hashem tells him to stop. More damage than good would have come out if Moshe Rabbeinu would have been allowed to enter Eretz Yisreol. But the lesson is clear, had Moshe Rabbeinu continued davening just one more Tefillah he would have been granted permission to enter Eretz Yisroel.


Bilam was aware of this fundamental understanding of the workings of Tefillah. Tefillah is a reality and it works. When we daven Hashem listens, that is how Hashem runs the world. If we persist in our Tefillos and offer them with a sincere heart full of devotion, eventually we will succeed and our Tefillos will be answered.


This was the power Bilam was trying to tap into. 

Bilam told Balak to prepare a Mizbaech (Alter) to sacrifice Korbanos to Hashem. Korbanos and Tefillos share many similarities, in fact, Chazal tell us that Teffilas Shachris and Mincha were enacted to correspond the Korban Tamid of the morning and afternoon respectively.

Bilam was ready to do whatever it took until Hashem would answer him with the affirmative and allow him to curse Bnei Yisroel.  Whether it would take 1,2 or even 10 alters with Korbanos, Bilam new that he would eventually succeed.

The truth of the matter is, since Hashem loves Klall Yisroel he did not allow Bilam to get to the point where his Tefillos would have been answered. After the third try Balak lost patience and put an end to the Korbanos.


The lesson is twofold: First, the tremendous love Hashem has for us that he did not allow Bilam to tap into the power of Tefillah in order to harm Klall Yisroel.  Second, we are reminded of the power of Tefillah, that if we keep persisting without relent  we will eventually merit our Tefillos answered.

(There are always exceptions to the rule, the nature of the above Dvar Torah is to highlight the general rule of Tefillah not to get into the topic of scenarios when it’s not good for a Tefillah to be answered) 

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