Stay Away and Be Admired by Ilan Griboff

(2006/5766) In Parshat Balak, Bilam praises Bnei Yisrael as “Am
LeVadad Yishkon UVaGoyim Lh Yitchasheiv,” “A people that
shall dwell apart and not be reckoned among the nations”
(23:9).  The Netziv in his Sefer  HaEimek Davar explains the
meaning behind this blessing.  He says that Bilam is pointing
out a difference between Bnei Yisrael and the rest of the
nations.  When another nation is exiled from their land, the
nations in the land they move to usually admire them more
than they did when they were in their original land.  It is just
the opposite in regard to the Jews.  Only when we “dwell
apart” from the other nations and do not assimilate will we be
admired.  This is shown by what happened in Mitzrayim.  The
Jews decided that to get on the good side of the Egyptians,
they would start acting the Egyptians and stop practicing
certain parts of Judaism.  The result was the exact opposite
of what they expected.  Instead of finding favor in the eyes of
the Egyptians, they were enslaved made miserable (Chazal
teach that the same occurred in the Persian exile).
If we “dwell apart” and keep the Torah, then we are
admired for our accomplishments.  On the other hand, if we
become more like the other nations and “dwell among them,”
then they will just see us as bothersome people because we
no longer have anything positive over the other nations.
May it be Hashem’s will that we will no longer have
to worry about living in exile with the other nations, and that
Maschiach will come and show the world that Bnei Yisrael
really are the chosen and special nation.

Worthy of Peace? by Doniel Sherman

Complete Mourning by Marc Poleyeff