And Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his ass (22:21)
From here we see how hatred causes a person to break from convention. Balaam had many servants at his disposal; yet in his eagerness to go curse Israel, he saddled his ass himself. Said the Almighty: “Evil one! Their father, Abraham, has already preempted you when, to fulfill My will, he ‘rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey’ (Genesis 22:3).”
In order to place before man the “free choice” that is essential to his mission in life, G-d so ordered His world that every positive force has its negative counterpart. Were there to exist a good element which cannot be put to corrupt use, then man’s potential for evil would be disadvantaged and would not present the equal challenge which makes for the choice factor in life. In the words of King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:14), “One corresponding to the other, G-d created.”
But this “equality” between good and evil extends only to the most superficial level of reality. When a person learns to look beyond the surface of things to their inherent purpose, he will see that only the good in the world is real and substantial. Good is an existence in its own right, while evil exists merely to provide the tension which imbues the positive acts of man with meaning and significance.
Hence, there cannot be anything “original” to evil, which is but a shallow, corrupted refraction of the good in the world. If Balaam was able to transcend the norm with the intensity of his hate, this was only because, centuries earlier, Abraham had done the same out of love of his Creator.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)
Giving his Shabbat Sermon, Rabbi Felderberg heard two teenage girls in the back giggling and disturbing people. So Rabbi Felderberg interrupted his sermon and announced sternly, “There are two of you here who have not heard a word I’ve said and I’m sorry but that is no way to treat the rabbi’s sermon.” That quieted them down.
When the service was over, Rabbi Felderberg greeted people at the front door as usual. But a strange thing happened. About a third of the congregation approached him quietly and apologized for sleeping in shul during the rabbi’s sermon, promising it would never happen again.