Which human in the world would not like to fly? Don’t all raise your hands at once. Very few will pass up on the oppurtunity to sprout wings and fly (safely of course). Yet the notion of humans flying unaided usually belongs in fantasy or sci-fi stories. And in the Torah!

It was time for Bnei Yisrael to wage war againt the Midyanites (Parshas Mattos). Bilam, who we heard about in Parshas Balak, met the Jewish army while he was on the way to Midyan to collect his reward. Although Bilam taunted them about the meager size of their army, the Jewish soldiers marched on. Pinchas and his generals ordered them to attack Bilam.

Before the Jewish soldiers were able to catch him, Bilam, a magician, used his powers of impure magic to ascend high into the air, too far for even an arrow to reach him. He even taught 5 Midyanite princes to fly, sensing they were in danger. Observing the sight, Pinchas asked if anyone could fly after Bilam and catch him. Indeed a man named Tzelaya, from the shevet (tribe) of Dan could, and he flew up accordingly.

Realizing that he was no longer safe in the air, Bilam changed directions and flew in the opposite direction, disappearing from sight. The dejected Tzelaya was unable to go after him. Pinchas decided that enough was enough and tracked Bilam and followed him. He then held up the Tzitz towards Bilam. The holiness of the Tzitz overpowered Bilam’s magical powers and Bilam fell down.  Then justice was given to Bilam.

SOURCE: The Little Midrash Says – The Book of Bamidbar.

Next Weeks Question: Which rivers flow out of Gan Eden?