Rabbi YY Jacobson
It is one of the strangest stories in the Torah—when the donkey suddenly opens its mouth. But why the need for this strange and funny miracle? What was the point of a donkey seeing an angel, Balaam beating it because he could not see anything in front of him, and then the donkey opening its mouth? Why the need for this strange and humorous miracle? What exactly do we gain from knowing that the wicket Balaam managed to hear a donkey speak? Many commentators have offered various perspectives. Today we will offer one insight (I heard it from Reb Avi Fishoff).
The Torah here is using a striking parable to convey a vital and critical message about education, mentoring and parenting. It is a message that can be a game changer today as we encounter so many young men and women giving up on themselves.
Last week, a young 21 year old woman from Brooklyn died from overdose. Malky struggled for years with a terrible learning disability and when she was expelled from schools that were clueless, she lost her dignity and ultimately, after many a struggle, fell prey to drugs. She was a brilliant artist, a spunky and fun girl, with a heart of gold, but surrounded by clueless educators she lost faith in herself, though her family was as loving and supportive as anyone can be.