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INSIGHT: Women Welcome!From Curses to Blessings

Amon and Moav – Two Thankless Nations

Amon and Moav – Two Thankless Nations

Remember back in the Book of Bereishis when Avraham saved his relative Lot from mighty King Kedarla’omer?

If not, here’s a Shazak Flashback:

Kedarla’omer had an army of thousands of men, and as Avram’s little army crept closer to them that night, they were pretty scared.

“Take a look at those mighty warriors! We’ll never beat them! We’re finished, Kaput… It’s a total disaster!”

But Avram was not frightened at all. The few fought against many and they miraculously won. When Avram’s men picked up sand and threw it against Kedarla’omer’s army, the sand turned into swords and daggers! And in turn, when Kedarla’omer’s soldiers threw their ammunition at Avram’s army, their swords and daggers turned into harmless sand!

“It’s incredible! Let’s get outta here!” they cried out, as Kedarla’omer’s army made a quick U-turn.

Lot ended up having kids, who had kids, by the name of Amon and Moav, who had more kids, etc. etc. etc., who eventually became the two mighty nations of Moav and Amon.

HaShem ordered Bnei Yisrael not to harm these nations. Moshe said in the name of HaShem, “Do not fight Moav or Amon, for I have given those lands as an inheritance for the children of Lot.”

“Moshe Rabbeinu, we get the point. No matter what, we must not fight our relatives.”

“I guess we have to learn from Avraham Avinu. No matter how bad Lot was, he risked his life to save him.”

“But how about if they want to convert to Judaism and join our nation?! Should we accept these people?”

“ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Moshe responded. “We won’t fight them, but we don’t need these evil people to mix with us. HaShem has decreed that it is forbidden for any man from Amon or Moav to convert to Judaism and join the congregation of HaShem!”

“Moshe Rabbeinu, why are these nations different from all other nations?”

“Why are other nations allowed to convert but not Amon and Moav?”

Moshe explained, “Never forget how Amon and Moav refused to give us bread and water when we were all exhausted from traveling through the hot desert.”

“That sure was disgusting! We even offered to pay them good money, yet they refused!”

“How wicked can you get?!”

“And never forget how the people of Moav hired Bilam to curse us!”

“That explains it, Moshe Rabbeinu. No evil in our midst!”

But Moshe did not stop there. He added, “But HaShem did not want to listen to Bilam. Instead, He switched the curses to blessings! Do you know why?!”

“Why? Why?”

“For one reason only – because HaShem loves you!” 

Hi! It's me.

Did you know that…

I am out of breath (huff… puff) 



Shazak insight

Women Welcome!

Even though the men of Amon and Moav were not allowed to convert to Judaism, the women were. Look carefully at the words of the Torah: “An Amoni or Moavi can’t join the congregation of HaShem.” It’s Amoni and Moavi – Males – not Amonees or Moavees – females.

This is super important and you know why? Because Rus (a.k.a. Ruth) was a princess of Moav who converted to Judaism and married a Jewish man named Boaz. She was the great-grandmother of Dovid HaMelech, the ancestor of Moshiach himself.

You can read her story in a special book called Megillas Rus (the Scroll of Ruth), which many Jews read on the holiday of Shavuos.

Shazak insight

From Curses to Blessings

Let’s repeat and analyze the words of Moshe:

But Moshe did not stop there. He added, “But HaShem did not want to listen to Bilam. Instead, He switched the curses to blessings! Do you know why?!”

“Why? Why?”

“For one reason only – because HaShem loves you!”

Ok. That’s what Moshe said, but isn’t this out of place? After all, doesn’t that information belong back in the Parsha where the story takes place – in Parshas Balak?

Perhaps (and it’s just a “perhaps” – a Shazak original) it’s because this is a perfect introduction to next week’s Parsha where we will learn about the many curses that will befall Bnei Yisrael if they don’t follow the proper path. Moshe’s profound message is, “All is not lost. With a dose of Teshuvah (repentance) HaShem can turn curses into blessings – just as he did with the curses of Bilam!”

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

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