The story of Balaam the prophet has many layers. On the surface, the parashah offers a scathing critique—really a satire—of the man who is regarded as a great seer by the Moabites. Yet if one cuts through this blatant put down, in fact Balaam is revealed as a true prophet—in touch with and receiving profound revelation directly from God. In this way, the Torah demonstrates that God cares deeply about and connects to non-Jews. This is a foreshadowing of a prophetic pluralism which will not become a substantial part of Jewish tradition until millennia later than the Bible—namely in our time.
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