Why are Jews so Critical?

IMG_4860BakerCBIsmThe Teaching from Toldot Ya’akov Yosef by Ya’akov Yosef of Polnoye: “What is the difference between a true prophet and a false one? The true prophet can be identified in most cases by their scoldings. They point out the blemishes and de­fects and want to break the measure. The false prophet flatters the people with sweet talk and sees none of the low land. ‘Peace, peace, everything’s fine and there’s no need for correction.’ [An allusion to Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11: ‘They offer heal­ing offhand for the wounds of my people, saying, Peace, Peace, when there is no peace.’ But true prophets (davka), genuine lovers of the people, scold.

Balaam, however, does not sing from any great love of Israel, even though he has many songs and praises for Israel. On the contrary, he intends to entice Israel so that they will not do anything, so that they will no longer yearn to ascend higher and higher up the ladder [of holiness (k’dushah)]. They are absolutely perfect; they are blessed with every good quality. And just this is the difference between him and the prophets of Israel.”

Rabbi Baker, in the Friday night service at Congregation Beth Israel, explains how Balaam missed the boat by singing phrases rather than doing what a true friend/prophet to Israel should do. Find out why Jews are so critical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *