A Message Written in Tears
In Rabbi Nachman’s story “The Lost Princess”, a viceroy sets out to find and rescue his king’s daughter after she disappears. Just as he’s about to succeed, he drinks forbidden wine and falls asleep for seventy years.
The princess is led right past the sleeping viceroy by her captors. Recognizing him, she tries to stir him, but fails. With a broken heart she cries, “What a great pity both on him and on me!”
Forced to leave, she writes on her kerchief with her tears and leaves it near the sleeping man. When the viceroy wakes up he deciphers the message and, through the secret it contains, he eventually saves the princess.
“I Lift My Eyes Toward the Hills…”
In Parshath Balak, the sorcerer Bilaam says, “I see [this nation] from the mountain tops …” and here Rashi’s comments: “I gaze at their beginning…their roots…and I see them established and strong as these rocks and as these hills, through the patriarchs and matriarchs.”
Our ancestors were, as mountains, unshakeable in their faith. To give us access to their level of invincibility, they provided a powerful and unfailing technique: they taught us how to cry.
“…Water shall Flow from the House of Hashem…”
We know Miriam stood watch over her baby brother – Moshe – when he was set in the basket in the Nile. But where was their mother, Yocheved?
The Zohar HaKodesh tells us: “The child’s mother was crying. As is written: ‘A voice is heard on high. It is the sound bitter weeping, Rachel is crying for her children.’ He [her child] cries, and the mother of the child cries…and in the future: ‘They will come with tears…’ That is: …the children [Israel] will come and be gathered in from exile in the merit of the tears of the child’s mother – Rachel.” 
Yocheved was crying for her child, yet the Zohar equates this with “Rachel is crying.” When a Jewish woman cries for her child, her tears become one with Rachel’s. Tears purify the heart – an aspect of “House of Hashem” – and become the “water” that flows from the House of Hashem.
“…There is No Wizardry in Jacob…”
Hashem created the world through the containment of light in the Hebrew letters. Bilaam knew this and boasted, “It is BaReiKH – a blessing – that I have taken.” He thought he could use the letters of the Torah against Israel. But the wizard failed because he missed the crucial point: Hashem listens to a broken heart.
Israel doesn’t need magic because we have something infinitely more powerful: the expression of our helplessness before God. We’re not even afraid of supernatural forces, because saying the Shema before going to sleep draws Hashem’s protection over us.
No magic can harm Israel when we admit our helplessness by praying. We’re also advised to ask a tzaddik to pray on our behalf because without tzaddikim “the world could not exist for even half a day.”
The Power of Helplessness
Parashath Balak resonates in the saga of the Lost Princess. The heroism of Pinchas illuminates the history of Israel among the nations because it marks a crucial “turning point” after which all the “characters” are finally “put in their place”.
The Princess conveys a powerful secret to the viceroy simply by writing with her tears on a piece of cloth. The message she conveyed was that he should cry. From that point on in the story, whenever the viceroy cries he succeeds.
This parable illustrates another facet of Parshath Balak: the turning point reached when Jewish sanctity was threatened and the leaders of Israel stood “weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting”.Suddenly confronted by a brazen display of immorality, all the Torah Sages of the generation, including Moshe Rabeynu, simultaneously forgot a major section of Torah law.
Helplessly, all they could do was cry and recite the Shema.
Father and Son as One
At their reunion after 22 years, Yaakov recited the Shema while Yosef wept. Yaakov said the Shema, because he foresaw the exile and knew the power of these words would unify his children. But Yosef wept because he had been in Egypt for 22 years and knew what searing pain his family would be up against.
At that moment – similar to the Akeydath Yitzchak (Avraham’s sacrificial binding of his son) – a father’s restraint and a son’s passion merged into a perfect synthesis to fortify their descendants forever.
How Could Moshe Rabeynu Forget?
Hashem’s light can be received in direct proportion to the purity of one’s mind. Immoral thoughts are contagious and can harm even the greatest tzaddik. This is how even Moshe Rabeynu came to “forget” a vital Law of the Torah at the close of this week’s parsha..
This forgetfulness was repaired through the generation’s heartfelt prayer and recital of the Shema, the heritage of our forefathers. Pinchas then suddenly remembered the appropriate response and merited saving his People.
Fighting Water With Water
The world is drowning in a flood of immorality, and clear thinking alone is not enough to save us. Sometimes to suppress a forest fire, a counter-fire is set encircling the blaze to “fight fire with fire.”
We can also “fight water with water” by pouring out our tears and asking Hashem to preserve the Inner Jerusalem of our heart so the flood of immorality can’t penetrate its walls. In a similar way, immersing in the Torah’s “…flowing stream, source of wisdom” transforms “waters of destruction” into a “… river – its streams will make the City of God rejoice”.
 Rabbi Nachman’s Stories: The Lost Princess
 Psalms 121:1
 Numbers 23:9
 Rashi, Numbers 23:9
 Bereishis Rabbah 68:2
 Joel 4:18
 Jeremiah 31:14
 Jeremiah 31:8
 Zohar, Shemoth 12:2
 Lekutey Tinyana 1
 Joel 4:18
 Numbers 23:23
 Numbers 23:20
 Deuteronomy 23:6
 Rashi on Numbers 23:24
 Zohar, Shemos 16b
 Numbers 25:6
 Sanhedrin 82a; Yad HaChazakah, Hilkhot Issurei Biah 12:4
 Targum Yonatan on Numbers 25:6
 Rashi, Genesis 46:29
 Likutey Moharan 1, Torath Natan #8.
 Sefer HaMidoth: Niuf A 38
 Sefer HaMidoth: Memory #7
 Likutey Moharan 36:2
 Lekutey Tanyina 1
 Proverbs 18:4
 Psalms 46:5
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