In today’s Chumash, Bilaam tells Balak that instead of trying to curse the Yidden, he should get them to do aveiros. Then Hashem will want to punish them. Balak does this, and many Jews are punished until Pinchas stops the plague.
Bilaam’s Nevuah: Bilaam told Balak that even a bigger Navi wouldn’t be able to help him hurt the Yidden. Instead, he told him to try to get the Yidden to do aveiros, and Hashem would punish them. Then he told Balak a nevuah about what would happen to Moav: (This is a very famous nevuah about Moshiach!)
“I see that the Yidden will capture Moav, but not now, not soon. Dovid Hamelech will capture it in many years.
“And for the rest of the nations — the Yidden will also capture Edom, when Moshiach comes. He will destroy the rest of Esav’s family.”
Then Bilaam started to say a Nevuah about Amalek: “Amalek was the first nation to attack the Yidden, and the Yidden will destroy them because Hashem gave them a mitzvah to do it.”
Bilaam also said nevuah about the family of Yisro, the Keini: “Even if your land will be destroyed, and you will be sent into Galus with the 10 Shevatim, you will survive and come back when Moshiach comes.
“Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, will send everyone into Golus, but they will not last forever.”
Then Bilaam went home.
Bilaam makes the Yidden do aveiros: Balak decided to try to do Bilaam’s plan and make the Yidden do aveiros. He got a bunch of girls from Moav and Midyan to set up stores for the Yidden to come buy things, and try to convince the Yidden to marry them, even though it is asur.
The Yidden were feeling very good after winning the wars with the Emori kings, and they weren’t as careful as they should have been. Some of the Yidden did get married to these girls from Moav.
The girls invited the Yidden to come do Avodah Zarah, telling them they won’t get married if the Yidden don’t bow down to the idols of Baal Pe’or.
Hashem made many Yidden get very sick as a punishment!
Hashem told Moshe how to stop the plague: Punish the people who did the aveira, and everyone else will be okay. Moshe brought the Yidden who did the aveiros to Beis Din, and after making sure they really deserve to be killed, he told the judges to kill them.
Zimri’s aveira: Some of these people, from Shevet Shimon, were very upset that people were being taken to the Beis Din! They went to Zimri, one of their Nesiim, and asked him to help them.
Zimri took a big group of Yidden, and went to get married to Kozbi, the daughter of one of the kings of Midyan. He wanted to show everyone that he could get married to whoever he wants!
Kozbi at first said no, she wanted to get married only to Moshe! (She thought she would try to convince Moshe Rabbeinu to do an aveira, and that would be the worst thing for the Yidden!) But Zimri convinced her that he was more important, because he came from the second Shevet (Shimon) and Moshe was from the third (Levi).
Zimri brought Kozbi to show the Yidden, and said “Why is it asur to marry her? Tziporah, Moshe’s wife, is also from Midyan!” (This was a very silly thing to say — Before Matan Torah, it wasn’t asur, and anyone who wanted to be Jewish could become Jewish.)
Moshe couldn’t remember what he should do! But Pinchas, the son of Elazar HaKohen, remembered! “If we see someone acting like they are married to a goy in public, aren’t we allowed to kill him without bringing him to Beis Din first?”
Moshe said, “You are right!”
Pinchas went, warned Zimri, and since Zimri wouldn’t stop, he killed Zimri and Kozbi together.
Now the judges were able to punish the Yidden who did the aveira, and the plague stopped.