Loyalty

Shavua Tov. One of the messages of today's Parsha is loyalty. We have the very strange situation of Bilam's donkey speaking to him. Her first question was why did Bilam strike her three times. After all, she argued, she was his faithful companion for a long period of time. Had she ever done anything to harm him in the past? The donkey was really making two points. The first is that Bilam should have given her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that there must have been a good reason why she strayed from the path. The second reason is the lesson of loyalty. Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira זצ״ל, often emphasized this point. Too often people turn on a loyal friend or even spouse for something petty. In one moment, all of the years of loyalty and devotion is thrown out the window. This was what made חטא העגל, the sin of the Golden Calf so severe. After all that Moshe Rabbeinu promised and fulfilled, they turned on him for a short delay. We must never minimize the importance of loyalty.