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The Talking Ass

By Tzvi Fishman
7/10/2011, 7:29 AM

I am, of course, referring to the famous talking ass of the Torah. As we mentioned, Bilaam would perform bestial acts with this creature, in order to draw upon himself an impure spirit that enabled him to carry out his nefarious deeds.  

The Torah states:

“You shall not lie with a man, after the manner of a woman; it is abomination. And you shall not lie with any beast to defile yourself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down before it; it is perversion. Defile not yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you” (Vayikra, 18: 22-24).

Although Bilaam, was a gentile, the Torah also forbids the sons of Noah to behave in this manner, as part of the general prohibition against sexual transgression.  

Whatever happened to Bilaam’s ass?

G-d slew it, as Rashi explains: “And now, since she spoke and rebuked you, and you were not able to withstand her rebuke, I have killed her, lest people say, ‘This is the ass which silenced Bilaam with her rebuke, and he was not able to answer,’ for the Omnipresent has consideration for the honor of mankind” (Rashi, Bamidbar, 34:33).

We can all learn from this example. If the Almighty had consideration for the honor of the wicked Bilaam, how careful we all must be in guarding the honor of our fellow man.

Shavuah tov!