hebrew
1)

What is the significance of the fact that Bil'am decided not to go the desert ... "?

1.

Ramban: Refer to 24:1:2:2.

2.

Rashbam: He decided not to seek permission to curse Yisrael, but to bless Yisrael with a full heart.

3.

Seforno: When he saw that it was good in the Eyes of Hashem to bless Yisrael, he decided that there was no point in continuing to seek permission to curse them, so he changed his tactics - to confer upon them limited B'rachos which incorporated hidden K'lalos. 1


1

Seforno: As the Gemara states in Ta'anis, 20a 'The curses that Achiyah ha'Shiloni conferred upon Yisrael, are better than the blessings of Bil'am'.

2)

If Bil'am finally realized that Hashem would not curse Yisrael, why did he turn his face towards the desert?

1.

Rashi: He thought that he would evoke Hashem's anger by mentioning Yisrael's sins, and He would then allow him to curse them.

2.

Ramban: The first two times he went to prepare his divination with which to curse Yisrael, and Hashem came to him by chance to instruct him what to say in His Name. This time however, 1 he turned to the desert and prepared himself for a direct revelation from Hashem. 2


1

Ramban: After having stated "Ki Lo Nachash be'Ya'akov ... ".

2

Ramban: As Hashem had done on the previous two occasions without his having prepared for it.

3)

What is the significance of "the desert" in this context?

1.

Rashi (citing Targum Onkelos), Ramban (citing Targum Yerushalmi) and Targum Yonasan: He turned to the sin of the Golden Calf that Yisrael had transgressed in the desert. 1


1

See Na'ar Yonasan.

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