In this week’s double Parsha, Chukas Balak, there is a wonderful lesson to be learnt from the haftorah. The prophet, Micha  admonishes his people to remember the incredible kindness that HaKadosh baruch Hu showered upon them. He took them from Egypt. He established for them great leaders; Moshe, Aaron and Miriam. And He protected them from the curse of Bilam. Micha thereby admonishes his people for not acknowledging HaShem’s kindness. Why do you not show your gratitude to Him?!

Bilam was a non-Jewish prophet who used his powers to earn himself power, prestige and money. Being that he was able to project fatal curses upon individuals and even nations, he commissioned himself as a hit man. For the right price he would place a fatal curse on the subject. As we traveled through the desert the king of Moav hired Bilam to curse our people. HaShem in His endless kindness protected us from Bilam’s curse.

This is the reference to which Micha is reminding his people to keep in mind and to respond in gratitude to HaKadosh baruch Hu by adhering to His Torah.

When Balak and Bilam plotted to curse our people, we were totally unaware of the plot. In fact, we would never have known about it had the Torah not told us. However, now that we are told about it and we recognize the unending kindness of HaKadosh baruch Hu, we are now held responsible to show gratitude for that kindness.

As science continues ceaselessly to progress and to discover more and more about nature and the human body, we continue to gain greater awareness of how fragile our bodies are. There are so many systems within the human body that must be carefully regulated. Many of the chemicals and enzymes which the body secretes must be countered by other chemicals to keep the system in perfect balance. The same is true in cosmology. There are forces that could destroy our solar system without a perfect balance that must be maintained. In every area of nature there are so many forces and counterforces.

Just as Micha expects from us the show gratitude to HaKadosh baruch Hu for His kindness of protecting us from Bilam, Micha would expect from us the same show of gratitude to Him for His constant maintenance and balancing that He does for every one of us in our own personal lives. This constant maintenance is required on every level of existence. How great must our gratitude be!

There is some debate among the religions of the world whether the study of science is in conflict with religion or not. I refer to the Socpes monkey trial. Within the Jewish faith, however, science is an integral part of our religion. A Jew who fails to appreciate the discoveries of science will fall short in his sense of gratitude that he has for His Creator.

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

Paysach Diskind