Balak's Bad Day
Moses was having a bad day. He was about to wage war against Og, king of the Bashanites, and he was afraid. After all, Og had long ago done a favor for Abraham, informing him of his nephew Lot's kidnapping, and Moses was afraid that this good deed would stand Og in good stead and turn the tide of victory against the Jewish people.
Although afraid "in his heart," Moses put on a brave face. "Righteous people are in control of their hearts." There was nothing to gain by sharing his worries with the people, so he kept them to himself.
The result: the Jewish people were calm and relaxed and were, indeed, victorious in battle.
On the flip side:
Balak was having a bad day. The Moab State Department had just sent him a memo that the two mighty kings in the region, Og and Sichon, had been defeated and killed by the invading Hebrews. "And Balak saw all that the Jews have done to the Emorites."
Consumed with panic, he called a press conference. With a pale face and broken voice, he broke the news of the invasion to all the citizens of Moab, hyping them up about the "Jewish problem." The heart was in control of the mind.
The result: "And [the nation of] Moab was afraid."
What was there to gain by terrifying the people? Nada. The people of Moab didn't take up arms or send messengers of peace. They just sat at home biting their nails.
Although Balak and his advisors did summon the prophet Balaam to curse the Jews, that had nothing to do with the rest of the citizens of Moab! So why did Balak frighten his nation? "Wicked people are in the control of their hearts."
Our emotions are who we are. They can either turn molehills into mountains, causing us to lose control and creating unhealthy emotions such as hate and jealousy -- Balak.
Or, when controlled by the mind, they can fill us with healthy emotions such as love and devotion to G-d, family, community and endangered dolphins -- Moses.
Let's be a Moses.