What learned in Today's daf, the daf that wasn't.
Not every learning experience occurs the way one would expect it. For example one could strain their very ability to comprehend simply by seeking to penetrate a matter too deeply.
For example one could get caught up in attempting to find some sort of grand unifying theory which explains how everything in one parsha is connected to everything else: http://thewriterscafe.tripod.com/id34.html, or they can drag us through 14 years of biographical information just to make one point about the Hebrew word for edge http://thewriterscafe.tripod.com/id34.html ultimately it sidetracks both writer and reader.
Today I had about ten minutes to get to the daf.
When things like this occur I head right for the bookshelf to get the Art Scroll gemara, but alas this mornng, it was not there. No big deal I though to myself I have missed the daf before, (never mind that my best hope was to catch the final 5 minutes) and I'll probably miss it again. So I went to plan B, made myself a cup of coffee, said a bracha and gathered up my talit, tefilin and siddur, and proceeded to utilize my 5 minute head start to get my talit, tefilin in place and complete my morning brachas.
Great, so apparently I was not supposed to hear today's daf, even a few minutes of it. So, after my tefilin shel yad was firmly in place I looked down to my tefilin bag to get my shel rosh in place, and then something caught my eye. There was the Artscroll Gemara next to a fellow minion member, the shul usually has one or two copies of each on the shelf. How do you think I felt. I decided I needed to talk to him.
At the proper moment in his davening, indicating the shul's copy of the Art Scroll gemara, I asked him if he attended the daf (knowing full well he probably was not a member of our shul's daf) and his surprised look allowed me to boldly go on. He told me that he attends the daf elsewhere. I told him the time when our daf starts, to which he responded that he had gotten the gemara from the shelf some 20 minutes after our daf started. I told him that I sometimes get to the daf late and look for the gemara on the shelf.
I do not remember the exact exchange that ensued, but I do recall he was being properly apologetic. I responded to him that it was no big deal that I would have only at best caught the last few minutes. We both dropped the topic and continued davening.
Before he left the man pointed out that one of the things I had done may have been a hefsik (interuption) I then explained to him a minhog that I have been following. I went on to explain that I wanted to point out the issue to him before I started daveing. I alluded to the idea that I wanted to daven with a clear head and to not think about the matter.
We shook hands, and I had inquired of his name.
The point of the story, and any parsha tie in:
We intuitively understand how an evil eye is a truly negative thing. Parsha Balak gives an elaborate explanation that really is worth trying to understand on it deepest level.