From the ancient pyramids to cryogenic freezing, human beings have done everything possible to find immortality. Today’s plastic surgery and certainly the cosmetics industry capitalize on the timeless quest for the “fountain of youth” – something, anything that would abort or reverse the aging process.
But the truth is that the secret of immortality is revealed in the Torah … and guess what? … those special passages are part of this week’s reading.
As the Israelites travel through Moab, the Moabite king, Balak, fearing their power, commissions the evil prophet Balaam to curse them. But, instead of cursing them, Balaam – being no more than a medium for divine revelation – ends up blessing them with some of the greatest of blessings, including: “Who can count the dust of Jacob!”
What sort of blessing is it to compare a people to “dust”? (Isn’t dust synonymous with dirt?) And what virtue is there in the fact that no one can count them?
The answers to these questions reveal the secret of immortality and why the Jews are known as the “eternal nation.”
And they also explain the Previous Rebbe’s enduring words to his Bolshevik captors 90 years ago this week (in connection with Yud Beis Tammuz, which we just celebrated): Mir velen zehn ver vemen, “Yes indeed, we will see who will prevail over whom.” Look at Russia today and see how these prescient words were fulfilled…