by Moshe Burt
Parshiyot Balak and Pinchas seem to represent a watershed event in the history of B’nai Yisrael. As noted, 1/3 of B’nai Yisrael died either by the hand of the Judges, or by way of the plague which struck some 24,000 jewish men who partook in the Midianite/Moabite bazaar. It couldn’t have gotten much worse, there was only one way for B’nai Yisrael to go from there — Up!
We find that after the rock-bottom event of the Ba’al Pe’or, the B’nai Yisrael finally, unequivocably recognized Moshe Rabbeinu as their leader, as HaKadosh Borchu’s Annointed . The question is; Why only now did the Jews only now finally accept Moshe as Hashem’s Annointed Leader and quit squabbling and rebelling? Was there something connecting the timing of this recognition with acquisition of the knowledge that Moshe would not be leading the B’nai Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael? Was it that this recognition sunk into the collective consciousness of B’nai Yisrael and they realized, as the oft-recorded 80s disco tune went, “You don’t know what you got ’til you lose it”? And what, if any, are comparable lessons to be learned in our contemporary generations? [...]