In this weeks Torah portion we read how Balak, king of the nation of Moav (modern day north-western Jordan), hears how the Jews escaped from Egypt, leaving the country in ruins after the 10 plagues. He becomes frightened that the same fate will befall him, and asks the famed non Jewish prophet Bilam to curse the Jews for him.

Bilam agrees and heads to the Jewish camp with King Balak to curse the Jews. However, try as he does to curse, only blessings escape from Bilam's lips. Some of the most beautiful poems about the Jewish people we have recorded were uttered by the Bilam as he tried to curse, but only could bless, his curses turning to blessings.

Today is the 4th of July, American Independence day. The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often speak about the lessons we could learn from the US founders, constitution, and national mottos.

One of these mottos is 'E Pluribus Unum', latin for 'From Many, One'. The Rebbe would point out that this simple phrase can serve as a profound lesson for how we live day to day. How so?

There are those who believe that G‑d is mutually exclusive. Only the most lofty and spiritual elements of our lives, and of society, are worthy of having a relationship with G‑d.

Not so however. G‑d is infinite. Something truly infinite is able to manifest itself not only where it is most familiar and welcome, but also where it encounters challenge and opposition and is still able to find common ground.

The Rebbe would thus explain how it is specifically 'From Many' that we can get to 'One'. Specifically when one views not only the limited areas of prayer and study as connecting to G‑d, but includes all aspects of their lives as serving the same purpose. It is specifically there that we can connect to 'One', i.e the one infinite G‑d. Anything from a baseball game to surfing to skydiving to art to yoga can be used to connect to G‑d, by finding a use for it that can benefit society and make the world a better place.

Just as Bilam's curses were transformed into blessings, so too can we transform every element of our lives, even those seemingly meaningless, mundane, simple acts, and use them to make the world a better and holier place.
As the saying goes, 'G‑d is in the details'.

Rabbi Avrohom