The Dichotomy of Vision in Parashat Balak
Chassidic commentaries give us a clue as to why Bilam was unable to place his evil eye on Israel, because, thank G-d, the Children of Israel belong to a protected species:
ספר במדבר פרק כד פסוק ב וַיִּשָּׂא בִלְעָם אֶת עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֹׁכֵן לִשְׁבָטָיו וַתְּהִי עָלָיו רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים:
Why was Bilam Blind in only One Eye?
ספר במדבר פרק כד פסוק ג וַיִּשָּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר
נְאֻם בִּלְעָם בְּנוֹ בְעֹר וּנְאֻם הַגֶּבֶר שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן:
(ד) נְאֻם שֹׁמֵעַ אִמְרֵי אֵל אֲשֶׁר מַחֲזֵה שַׁדַּי יֶחֱזֶה
נֹפֵל וּגְלוּי עֵינָיִם:He took up his parable
and said, "The word of Bilam, the son of Beor and the word of the man with a gouged-out
eye. The word of the one who hears G-d’s sayings, who sees the vision of the
Almighty, fallen yet with open eyes." (Bamidbar 24:3-4)
Why was Bilam, with his Gross Soul, Granted Prophetic Powers?
I believe that the reason Hashem granted Bilam prophetic powers on par with Moshe’s, despite his spiritual blindness, was to disprove the mistaken outlook, that there exists two equal spiritual powers battling for dominion: the Divine power of good, versus the Satanic power of evil. Moshe Rabbeinu was G-d’s ambassador in the world, while the sorcerer, Bilam, the son of Be’or, represented the dark powers of the Satan. The Torah teaches us that ultimate power is not divided between the forces of good and evil, but that all power belongs to the One and only unified G-d. He is the Creator of both light and darkness, including the dark powers, in order to imbue humanity with free choice. He extended this free choice also to the nations. Therefore, he granted them a prophet, with prophetic powers equal to even Moshe, our teacher. This was also so that the non-Jews would have no opportunity to claim, ‘if we would have been led by a prophet on the level of Moshe, we would have served G-d, too. Opposed to Moshe, Bilam received his prophetic powers though the forces of impurity, that G‑d allows to govern part of nature. Yet, this power has no independent authority at all. It is but an agent of G‑d, Who in His unlimited power, can bestow it upon even the lowest beings. Bilam, with his evil eye, haughty spirit and gross soul (Pirkei Avot 5:11), was considered even lower than his donkey, who beheld the angel while Bilam was unaware. Nevertheless, according to the will of the Almighty, the vile curses, of the evil Bilam, were transformed into the most beautiful blessings. Hashem even opened the eyes and mouth of the coarse, material donkey, as well as the gouged-out eye of Bilam, in order to verify, once and for all, that spiritual power belongs to Hashem alone, and He grants it to whoever He pleases.