Nechama Leibowitz, Studies in BaMidbar, p. 294. Commentary to Parshat Balak
1 א
In the third blessing there is, however, no hint of any polemic. Balak disappears completely from the picture along with his demands, machinations, and arguments. Without any preliminary invocation the prophet plunges into his panegyric of Israel. We have here neither vindication nor denunciation but pure prophecy. This third blessing is characterized by a more sublime note, richer and more imaginative language than the previous ones. From the linguistic point of view we may note that there are no figures of speech in the first blessing and there is only one taken from the animal kingdom in the second. The third is rich in figurative description, beginning with the vegetable and ending with the animal kingdom . . .“The prophet after recalling the pristine purity of the perfect world in the Garden of Eden proceeds to dwell on the theme of abundance. But we are not treated here to a description of artificial riches, palaces, and urban magnificence, but rather to a natural abundance of fields and vineyards.”[Compiled by Ilana Stein]
2 ב

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is abundant in Balak’s blessing? What from today’s world, that we think of as essential to our lives, is missing from Balak’s illustration of the abundance of the Garden of Eden?

2. What does this source teach us about true abundance? How can we fill the world with this type of abundance?

3 ג
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)