Mycale: The Book of Angels, Volume 13
Text from Numbers 24:4-9
King Balak of Midian, afraid of the approaching Israelites who are about to enter Israel. sends a prophet, Balam. to curse them. Following a series of sacrifices, and an episode of his donkey speaking after seeing an angel-every time Balam tried to curse, his words turned into blessings, the most famous, "Ma Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov" (מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ,יַעֲקֹב) has become a prelude to morning prayers.
The words of the one who hears the sayings of the Divine,
who sees the vision, while fallen and with uncovered eyes:
How good are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel,
Stretching out like brooks, like gardens by a river ... like cedars by water ...
He crouched and lay like a lion, and like a lion cub who can stand him up?
Those who bless you are blessed and those who curse you are accursed ...
אֲשֶׁר מַחֲזֵה שַׁדַּי יֶחֱזֶה, נֹפֵל וּגְלוּי עֵינָיִם
מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ, יִשְׂרָאֵל
כִּנְחָלִים נִטָּיוּ, כְּגַנֹּת עֲלֵי נָהָר. . . כַּאֲרָזִים עֲלֵי-מָיִם
כָּרַע שָׁכַב כַּאֲרִי וּכְלָבִיא, מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ; מְבָרְכֶיךָ בָרוּךְ, וְאֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר