Would He say and not do, or speak and not confirm.

Rashi: “`Would He say’–the expression “hahu omar etc.” is a question.” If the whole posuk is a form of a question and the end of the posuk must be understood as meaning “would he speak and not confirm” why is the form of adding a heih (in hahu) not used also before vediber and have read hadiber velo yekimeneh?HaKodosh Boruch Hu changes His mind about afflicting punishment. Although the

HaKodosh Boruch Hu changes His mind about afflicting punishment. Although the novi Yonah said, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overturned” (Yonah 3:4) since the residents of Nineveh did teshuvah the gezeirah was annulled. On the other hand when HaKodosh Boruch Hu makes a gezeirah tovah for a person or nation’s benefit He does not change it (as the Rambam writes at length in his introduction to the Peirush HaMishnayos on Seder Zero’im).

It is general knowledge that amirah (saying) is a soft expression and alludes to a beneficial decree but dibur is a harsh expression alluding to a harsh decree.

“Hahu omar”–using an expression of amirah which means a good gezeirah. “Would He say and not do?”–that is impossible since HaKodosh Boruch Hu doesn’t change His mind about a beneficial gezeirah and annul His Divine promise. “Vedaber”–a harsh expression, alluding to a harsh gezeirah but not using the heih that turns the phrase into a question, “Or speak and not confirm”–it is possible that Hashem will not fulfill it since HaKodosh Boruch Hu annuls His harsh gezeirah and annuls it when bnei Yisroel do teshuvah.

[[Chakal Yitzchak]



The maloch of Hashem said to him, For what reason did you strike your she-donkey these three times?

“Why did it anger the maloch that Bilam struck his she-donkey? Until Bilam saw the maloch he presumed it was a regular animal, and it is natural that one strikes an animal that baulks and refuses to go on.

When Hashem commanded Bilam, “Arise and go with them, but only the thing that I shall speak to you–that shall you do” (v. 20) that was an instruction for him to follow exactly what He commands him. Someone who carries out the Divine Will but later sees something amazing, will contemplate what can it be that Hashem wants him to do. If a person is doing something and suddenly something sensational occurs, he understands that surely Hashem doesn’t want him to continue doing it.

When Bilam saw such a wonder that his donkey crouched, something that his donkey never did in the past, as the posuk (30) attests, “Have I been accustomed to do such a thing to you?” he should have understood that Hashem’s will is that he return home and not continue with his plan to curse bnei Yisroel, and that what Hashem had previously told him that he could go with the shelichim of Balak was only, “If the men came to summon you, arise and go with them, but only the thing that I shall speak to you that shall you do” (v. 20). He was expected to grasp what is the Divine will and carry it out.

Bilam should have paid attention to the Heavenly warnings and not hit his donkey. He hit his donkey angrily because of his enormous rishus (wickedness) since he didn’t want Hashem to stop him. This enraged the maloch and it said to Bilam, “For what reason did you strike you donkey these three times?”

[Kedushas Levi]


Water shall flow from his wells, and his seed shall be by abundant waters. His king shall be exalted over Agag, and his kingdom shall be upraised.

The Or HaChaim Hakodosh explains, “Shall be exalted over Agag” means that the first thing the Melech HaMoshiach will do is to wage war against Amolek. (Amolek descends from Agag – see Pesichta of Ester Rabba

Chazal (Tanchuma, end of parshas Ki Seitzei) teach us that HaKodosh Boruch Hu said His “chair” will not be complete until the remembrance of Amolek will be eradicated, and only afterward, “His Kingdom shall be upraised” over the whole world.

The beginning of the posuk can be explained as follows: “The holy praises of Hashem are in their throats, and a double-edged sword is in their hand” (Tehillim 149:6), therefore Mt. Sinai is called chorev, meaning a sword. It is a sword against the nations who persecute Yisroel (see Shabbos 89b, Shemos Rabba 2:4, Tanna Dvei Eliyahu ch.

It is well known that “water means only Torah” (Bova Kamma 17a), and accordingly, “Water shall flow from his wells”–meaning the Torah. “And his seed shall be by abundant waters”–the might of bnei Yisroel studying Torah will cause the nations’ downfall, as is written, (Tehillim 8:3), “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have established strength, because of Your enemies, to silence foe and avenger.” And likewise, “His king shall be exalted over Agag”–meaning that this will cause the downfall of Amoleik, and as a result, “His kingdom (of HaKodosh Boruch Hu) shall be elevated.

[Maran Rebbe Aharon of Belz zy’a]