Conservative Apikorus on the Parsha -- Balak
The story of Bilaam demonstrates the futility of pentitential prayer, plus it reveals another major Bilical Plot hole.
Why do people insist on praying to God asking for God to grant them various favors? Why should God answer such prayers?
Consider the situation: On the one hand, you have a resort owner on the Jersey Shore who prays for sunny weather to ensure good business. On the other hand, you have a South Jersey farmer who is oraying for rain, so his crop won't fail. Which prayer should God answer?
Now, as far as the plot hole in Parashat Balak: Why would God go through all this nonsense about having Bilaam agree to curse Israel, only to have him bless them? Why not allow Bilaam to curse Israel, and then, in the course of events, show that the surse had no effect? Surelt that would demonstrate to Balak the power of God and the futility of opposing Israel, as well as destroying Bilaam's credibility as a prophet, thus punishing him for agreeing to take Balak's commssion.
All in all, the onlt redeeming part of the parsha was the story of the talking donkey. Perhpas this was the inspiration for the TV show, Mr. Ed?