web analytics
August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism

Balak And The Battle Of Gettysburg


Statue of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon

Statue of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon

The Chofetz Chaim notes that Balak was an evil person. Such a personality can only imagine achieving success through cursing his opponent. Rather than imagining attaining victory by building himself up, Balak thought he could only win by having his opponents knocked down.

In politics this is referred to as “negative campaigning.” Rather than accentuate one’s attributes, accomplishments, and successes, candidates often attempt to win by slinging mud at their opponents. One can tell a lot about a person’s true character by the way he seeks to promote himself. Does he accentuate his positives, or does he try to tear down his opponent in the most negative manner? An evil personality like Balak thought strictly in negative terms, never imagining there was a higher road that could lead to success. As such, he let the opportunity of a potential blessing from Bilam slip through his fingers.

Aside from giving one the appearance of being nasty and small-minded, negative campaigning is also an ineffective way to promote one’s cause – or sell a product. It is common knowledge that companies spend billions of dollars on advertisements each year. It follows that before all those advertising dollars are invested, marketing gurus study the most effective ways to push a product. If we think about the most effective advertising campaigns we’ve seen, we realize they are examples of positive campaigning. Fortunes are spent trying to convince us that by purchasing a given product, we will achieve peace, happiness, and bliss.

Even if we are not working in the world of advertising, each of us is involved in trying to sell a product. The Torah is very clear that our ancestors stood at Sinai and entered into a covenant with God, agreeing to observe the Torah as a nation. Only by observing that Torah on the national level can we expect God to keep His part of that covenant, blessing us with unlimited peace and prosperity.

As observant Jews, we also believe that every Jew’s life would be enhanced on a personal level if it were lived in accordance with the Torah. We hope – and make significant efforts and sacrifices toward that end – that our children, families, friends and co-religionists will all choose to live a life of Torah and mitzvahs.

What is the most effective way for us to promote a lifestyle of Torah and mitzvah observance to our fellow Jews? We need to consistently emphasize that Torah is the greatest gift God has given us. Far from being a burden, mitzvahs are vehicles to enrich our lives in a way like nothing else can.

Let us emphasize that inside each one of us is a Jewish soul that is hungry and thirsty. This spiritual hunger and thirst can only be quenched by the Torah and mitzvahs God has given us. In essence, the many mitzvahs we have been given are opportunities to draw closer to God and achieve that sense of contentment we all seek in life.

Our sages, in fact, emphasized this point with the mishnaic teaching (Makos 3:16) that “As God desired to benefit Israel, He gave them much in the way of Torah and mitzvahs.” Marketing the Torah in this manner – and of course by our own personal example – will resonate with people much more strongly than any negative marketing campaigns.

Balak’s mistake was a missed opportunity that proved to be catastrophic for him and his people. Let us learn from Balak and be sure to promote Torah in the most positive way possible. If we take the high road, we will not come across as nasty people or pass up incredible opportunities.

About the Author: Rabbi Akiva Males is rabbi of Kesher Israel Congregation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at rabbimales@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Balak And The Battle Of Gettysburg”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Brooklyn's "Vote No on the Nuclear Deal" rally organizers singing Ani Ma'amim. (L to R) Cantor Shlomie Rabin, Councilmember David Greenfield, Jeffrey Davis (back row), Kalman Yager (back row), Chanina Sperlin, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, Zaki Tamir, Yaacov Berhman, Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Aug. 26, 2015.
In Show of Unity, Bklyn Pols Rally Against Iran Deal
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Akiva Males
Rabbi Akiva and Layala Males with Israeli soldiers.

Yashar Lachayal’s mission is to learn what IDF soldiers’ need and get it to them when they need it.

Cantor Seymour Rockoff

For all those years he asked God to bless our congregational family with health, happiness, prosperity, and nachas from our families.

As Torah-observing Jews should we re-evaluate our view on Gay Marriage? The answer, of course, is NO

Changing plans needn’t be a frustrating experience. Sometimes the new path proves far more rewarding

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

The power of “positive campaigning;” Nothing quenches your soul’s thirst like Torah.

At the core of traditional Judaism is the belief that our world has a Creator. This Creator knows all that goes on in our world, and remains actively involved in all of its events – no matter how insignificant some of those events might seem.

In a short span of time our shul raised and distributed thousands of dollars for relief organizations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/balak-and-the-battle-of-gettysburg/2014/07/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: