Speaking To G-d
Likutei Halachos on Parshas Balak
Translated by Dov Grant
Possuk 23:9 "…it is a people that will dwell solitarily. It shall not be reckoned amongst the nations"
The Jews are a holy people, characterized by solitude. They fulfill the exhortation of the prophet (Isaiah 26): “Come, My people! Enter your rooms and close the door; hide away for a short time until the anger has past”. When do they do this? When they engage in hisbodedus/ solitary conversation with Hashem, pouring out their innermost thoughts to Him at every opportunity and being ever mindful of life’s true purpose.
Through hisbodedus the Jewish people secure themselves from all troubles, enemies and instigators. They conceal themselves under the wings of Hashem, so to speak, as expressed in the verse (Psalms 32: 7): “You are my hiding place, preserving me from trouble…” This relates to (Devarim 33:28) “Yisrael shall dwell in safety, alone/bedad (etymologically related to hisbodedus)…” and (Psalms 4: 9): “…for You, Hashem – bedad, make me dwell securely” Through being alone in hisbodedus with Hashem, the Jewish people are able to always dwell in safety: By placing their dwelling place and trust in Him, striving to remove their thoughts from the world’s futilities and annul their will to His.
The Targum Yonasan and Yerushalmi explains that “ they shall not be reckoned amongst the nations” means that Jewish people do not get enmeshed in the social conduct of the nations. They do not pursue the social pastimes of the nations, the race to amass material possessions, silver trinkets and jewelry and the like. Rather, they turn their thoughts from all worldly nonsense and practice hisbodedus, pouring out their words to Hashem with intense yearning and desire.
And so it states (verse 10): “ Who can count the dust of Ya’acov?” This means: Who can count and evaluate the holiness of every step that a Jew takes over dust, when he is headed towards a holy matter, to a synagogue, to a study hall, to greet his Rabbi, or to pour out his words in hisbodedus. With every single step that he takes over the dust of the earth, the Jew effects great tikkunim/rectifications and Heavenly delight. They are priceless and beyond all measure.
Orach Chaim Hilchos Birchas HaShachar 5:87