Twice in Torah, we are privy to the thoughts of a powerful leader about the children of Israel. The first time, at the beginning of the book of Exodus, we see the rise of the melech hadash – the new king who did not know Joseph, and his view that Hinei Am B’nei Yisrael rav v’atzum mimenu, “Behold the people who are the children of Israel are more and mightier than we” (Exod. 1:9). From this perception came the enslavement of the Israelites, and eventually their liberation from Egypt to journey towards the Promised Land. And now here, Balak, the king of Moab, having seen what the journeying Israelites had done to the Amorites, and distressed at the power and size of the Israelites, calls to Balaam: V’attah l’cha na ara li et ha’am hazeh, ki atzum hu mimeni, “And now come pray, and curse for me this people, for it is too great for me” (Num. 22:6).
The views expressed in this D’var Torah do not necessarily reflect the position of Leo Baeck College.