Haftarah for Balak

Micah 5:6-6:8

G-d will allow Israel to fall into the hands of their enemies before the Messiah reveals himself and the kingdom of Judah will be reunited with the “lost” Tribes. The Messiah will return them from exile and be their king.

At that time, there will be permanent peace. If Assyria (or, presumably, some other hostile power) should invade, they would be rebuffed by the “seven shepherds and eight princes.” (These are: Adam, Seth, Methuselah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Samuel, Saul, Jesse, Hezekiah – or Zedekiah – Elijah, Amos, Zephaniah and the Messiah himself. Whew! See Talmud Succah 52b.)

The evil people of Israel will be destroyed; the righteous who remain will be like dew from G-d and like rain on the crops. They will be to other nations like a lion is to a flock of sheep – they’ll defer to them. Their enemies will be destroyed and Israel will have no further need of weapons. The peace will be so great that they won’t even need walls around their cities. Sorcery and idolatry will be a thing of the past and G-d will spend His anger on those who refused to listen to Him.

Chapter 6

Micah now tells the people to listen to what G-d has to say. He says that the Avos and Imahos (forefathers and foremothers – namely Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah), whom He compares to mountains and hills, should see the actions of their descendants; G-d has issues with them. What did He do to make them turn away from Him? (The Midrash points out that G-d made serving Him relatively easy. For example, the sacrifices are all from domesticated species; nobody had to go out and catch a deer or a gazelle.) If anyone has a problem with Him, they should speak up!

G-d took the nation out of Egypt and sent them leaders in the form of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Then, King Balak of Moab plotted against the Jews and hired the pagan prophet Balaam to curse them. G-d repeatedly saved them, even when they sinned against Him. If someone would ask what to bring as a sacrifice to G-d – choice animals or perhaps their firstborn child – Micah would reply, “G-d has told you what He wants – simply do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him.”

Excerpted from The OU’s Nach Yomi