What Does the Lord Require of You?
ONE OUT OF THREE
The prophets mention Balak and his struggle with
TWO THAT ARE THREE
When we examine our haftara, it is immediately evident that contents-wise it is divided into two main sections:
1) 1) the prophecy of consolation of chapter 5 (the first half of the haftara);
2) 2) the prophecy of rebuke of chapter 6 (the second half of the haftara).
We also see that according to the masoretic tradition, the haftara is comprised of three closed sections – parashiyot segurot – and this is because the prophecy of consolation that constitutes the beginning of the haftara deals with two different issues.
A SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE, RATHER THAN A POLITICAL ONE
Were we to be asked to explain the connection between these prophecies and the common denominator that unites the various parts of the haftara, we would answer that the central issue that stands at the heart of the haftara is the relationship between human power and geo-political considerations on the one hand, and Divine providence and spiritual elements on the other. Balak's basic insight that he must conduct his military campaign on a spiritual-religious plain, and therefore he must mobilize a spiritual personality to fight against
We can already point to a difference between Balak's treatment of the issue of Balak and the way that Yiftach makes use of the story. Yiftach relates neither to the curse nor to the spiritual struggle; he merely notes that Balak withdrew from a geopolitical confrontation with
In contrast, our haftara was chosen because it makes no mention of Balak's military policies, but only his counsel against the sanctity of
LIBERATION FROM DEPENDENCY
The opening verse of the haftara promises consolation to the remnant of
It should be emphasized that when the prophet proclaims that
DEPENDENCE UPON GOD
The haftara continues with this line of thought. It offers a promise of consolation that is exceedingly paradoxical, namely, the destruction of
DEPENDENCE IS THE DECISIVE FACTOR
We have now reached the transition between the first and the second halves of the haftara. On the one hand, there is a transition from consolation to rebuke and from the redemption of the remnant of Yaakov to the quarrel between God and
As stated above, Balak correctly understood the importance of the spiritual factor, and he also understood that in order to confront Moshe's leadership, he would have to confront him on the prophetic level and not on the military plain. For this end, he mobilizes Bilam, who was capable of such a confrontation (and therefore Chazal say that Bilam reached the level of Moshe), and assigns him the mission of the metaphysical struggle with
EXTERNAL ACTION AND SERVICE OF THE HEART
Immediately following his words concerning Balak and Bilam, Mikha relates to the issue of sacrifices and the appropriate way of offering them. The contents of Mikha's prophecy regarding the relationship between external actions and true service of the heart, the appropriate relationship between man and God, and the meaninglessness of grandiose sacrifices that are void of inner intention, are familiar to us from other prophets. Mikha's words on these issues fit in with the general prophetic outlook on this issue, and it is not our intention to expand upon this here. It is appropriate, however, to examine the juxtaposition of the section dealing with the sacrifices to what precedes it in the haftara.
The answer regarding Bilam is simple, and it relates to the sacrifices that he offered. As stated above, both Balak and Bilam correctly understood the true field of battle between them and
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAGIC AND WORSHIP OF GOD
There is, however, an important difference between the sacrifices brought by Balak and Bilam and the outlook of the prophets, which turns Bilam's sacrifices into the antithesis of Mikha's message. Bilam was a magician and the actions that he performed on behalf of Balak were based on magic and sorcery. In the framework of such an outlook, a sacrifice does not express inner religious experience, but rather the attempt to magically appease God by way of actions and deeds that will win Him over. Just as at the outset Bilam does not examine the true will of God, but rather he tries to appease Him, so that He not be angry with him, so too his attitude toward the sacrifices. What underlies his actions is not a bending of his inner will to God's will, but rather the performance of external actions. All this stands in stark contrast to the position presented by Mikha that sacrifices are meaningless when unaccompanied by deep inner religious experience. Bilam sets man in the center – and therefore he all the time glories in his great powers and spiritual attainments – whereas Mikha sees man as subject to God and obligated toward others. His message is to practice justice and lovingkindness towards others and walk humbly with God.
Therefore, despite the common assumption of Balak and Mikha that
 Yehoshua 24, Shoftim 11 and Mikha 6. The matter is mentioned once again in Nechemya 13, but there the focus is on the prohibition to enter into marriage with an Amonite or Moavite, and not on the story itself.
 In Shoftim 11:25, Yiftach sends the king of Amon a long speech which he hopes will deter him from waging war against Israel, having been convinced of the historical justice on the side of Israel. In the framework of that speech, Yiftach declares: "And now are you at all better than Balak the son of Tzippor, king of Moav? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against him?"
 Regarding this point, Yehoshua's dealing with Bilam is similar to that of Mikha, so that it too could have served as the haftara. It seems that Mikha's prophecy was preferred because it integrates the story of Bilam into the framework of a prophecy of rebuke that is directed at a people who sinned and calls upon them to repent, whereas Yehoshua's words are directed toward a nation that is totally righteous and his objective is to encourage them to continue. Recognizing human nature and Jewish history, Chazal apparently preferred Mikha's context and saw his words as more appropriate for the needs of future generations, than the circumstances at the end of the book of Yehoshua which were more unique. In previous shiurim in the haftara series we noted that the primary objective of the haftara is to relate to the spiritual condition of the ordinary synagogue goer, and therefore it is important to choose a chapter that will speak to him and goad him to spiritual improvement.
 See Rashi and Radak who emphasize this point, in contrast to Malbim who writes that "so will they bestow goodness and lovingkindness on the nations in the midst of which they live, and they will not receive anything from them." Ibn Ezra brings both explanations.
 According to Da'at Mikra's division of the book into six sections, the two parts of the haftara are found in different units of the book owing to their different concerns.
 See: 1) Yehoshua 13:22, where he is called, "Bilam the son of Be'or the magician," 2) the beginning of the parasha where the elders of Moav and Midyan go to him with the rewards of divination in their hands, 3) what Scripture says about Bilam going to seek for enchantments, 4) and the words of Chazal regarding Bilam's attempts to calculate the moment of God's anger.