RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Whoever possesses the following three traits is of the disciples of our father Abraham; and whoever possesses the opposite three traits is of the disciples of the wicked Balaam. The disciples of our father Abraham have a good eye, a meek spirit and a humble soul. The disciples of the wicked Balaam have an evil eye, a haughty spirit and a gross soul. What is the difference between the disciples of our father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked Balaam? The disciples of our father Abraham benefit in this world and inherit the World To Come, and as is stated, "To bequeath to those who love Me there is, and their treasures I shall fill" (Proverbs ). The disciples of the wicked Balaam inherit purgatory and descent into the pit of destruction, as is stated, "And You, God, shall cast them into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men, they shall not attain half their days. And I shall trust in you" (ibid., 55:24).”
Why is this example given? Because Abraham is the Father and the Prophet of the Jewish people and Balaam is thought to be the father and prophet to the Gentile people.
But even Gentiles can become talmidim (disciples) of Abraham, even if you’re children of Balaam and the visa versa is true as well. Being a talmid (disciple) is a choice.
Yochannon (John), Messiah’s cousin said to the children of Abraham who acted like talmidim (disciples) of Balaam in Matt. 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr