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Torah Message:

Pleading Poverty

“Neither an Amoni nor a Moavi may enter the congregation of G-d… because of the fact that they did not greet you with bread and water on the road when you were leaving Egypt, and because he hired Bilaam ben Beor against you to curse you.” (23:4)

“I’d really love to help you, but I just don’t have the money right now.”

Pleading poverty must be one of the oldest excuses in the world.

Why was it necessary for the Torah to give two reasons why Amon and Moav are perpetually excluded from the congregation of G-d? Wasn’t their hatred sufficiently apparent in their failure to greet the Jewish People with bread and water after the Exodus? Were it not for Avraham there would never have been an Amon and a Moav in the world at all. It was Avraham who saved Lot, their progenitor, from Sodom. Their failure to greet the descendants of Avraham, the Jewish People, after the Exodus, revealed their loathing.

Amon and Moav had an excuse. They could have said, “We would love to have rushed out and brought food to the Jewish People but we just couldn’t pick up the tab for a couple million people. Sorry about that.”

However the lie is given to that excuse, because they certainly found enough money to hire the greediest and highest paid sorcerer in the world, Bilaam, to curse the Jewish People.

So if you can find the bucks to bring in the star wizard of his generation, you could have certainly found bread and water for the Jewish People.

  • Source: based on Mayana shel Torah