What is the connection between David’s sister Avigayil and Bil’am HaRasha? Why is she called Avigayil bat Nachash?
The Daily Ma’amar by our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a, courtesy of the “Hashem Hu HaElokim” leaflet:
“For from the root of the snake (nachash) will emerge a viper, and his progeny will be a flying fiery serpent” (Yeshayahu 14:29), because YIshai is called “NaChaSh,” the secret of “ChoSheN” HaMishpat, which was adorned with Odem Pit’dah Bareket, Nofech Sapir Yahalom, Leshem Shevo V’Achlamah.
Because David had a sister by the name of Avigayil – the secret of Leah, and a wife by the name of Avigayil – the secret of Rachel, and through these two women, David succeeded in joining the heels of Leah with the Keter (Crown) of Rachel, that this is the secret of the giving of the Torah, and through this, he merited to hear the Ten Commandments at every moment and second, and to make them heard to all the Jewish people.
Because Avigayil his wife was at the beginning the wife of Naval HaKarmeli, who was a base (bliya’al) man (I Shmuel 25:25), the numerical value of Bil’am [=142], because Naval HaKarmeli was a spark of Bil’am HaRasha, about whom it is said “And knows the knowledge of the Supreme One, who sees the vision of Shadd-ai, while fallen and with uncovered eyes” (Bamidbar 24:16).
Because Hashem Yitbarach would also be revealed to Bil’am when he was sleeping and lying on his bed, as it is written in Sifri [at end of “Zot HaBracha”], that in three things, Bil’am was greater than Moshe Rabbeinu: In “Knows the knowledge of the Supreme One,” and Hashem would reveal Himself to him also when he was lying on his bed, in the aspect of “fallen and with uncovered eyes.” And outside of this, Bil’am, who was “knowing the knowledge of the Supreme One,” knew when and in which hour, and at which moment, Hashem stood to reveal Himself to him, which was not so with Moshe.
And all of this Hashem Yitbarach did so that the nations of the world would return in repentance, and He gave them a prophet who in three things was greater than Moshe. However, Bil’am misappropriated his lofty duty and his mission of God for which he was sent, and merited to become married to a donkey, and they made a wedding with much opulence and splendor, with fireworks and balloons which flew in the air.
And he himself flew in the air, and hid himself behind the stars, so that Pinchas would not identify him [Zohar, Balak 194]. However, all of this did not help him, and Pinchas sent Tzilyah, who was from the tribe of Dan, and he brought him down from between the stars, as it is written in Ovadia (1:4): “If you raise [your nest] like an eagle or if you place your nest among the stars, I will bring you down from there – the word of Hashem.”