Bilaam the Brilliant but Homicidal and Genocidal Maniac: A Lecture on Parshas Balak

Bilaam was a prophet who “knew the knowledge of God” and rivaled Moses in prophecy. Yet he was a man of repugnant character who has the ignominy of being labeled as “Bilaam the wicked” and as the prototype of arrogance (Avos 5:18). Why did he merit such greatness? What is the meaning behind his bizarre interactions with his donkey? Why did God curtail his ability to curse the Jewish nation?