Whoever possesses the following three characteristics is a disciple of Bilaam Harasha: an evil eye, an arrogant spirit, and a greedy soul. (Avos 5:19)

Where do we see that Bilaam possessed these three traits?

On his last attempt to curse the Jews he looked over the entire camp, searching for weakness, as it says, “And Bilaam raised his eyes.”(24:2) This was an expression of his trait of an evil eye.

When Balak’s dignitaries wanted to escort Bilaam back to Balak he told them, (22:13) “Hashem refuses to allow me to go with you” That is to say:you are not dignified enough for me. This is an expression of his great arrogance.

He told Balak’s servants (22:18) “Even if Balak would give me silver and gold enough to fill his house” which expresses his desire for wealth to satisfy his greedy soul.

The Maharal points out that these three negative traits of Bilaam are summed up in a different Mishneh in Pirkei Avos.

“Rabbi Elazar Hakafar says: Jealousy, desire and honor remove a person from the world.” (4:18) Jealousy affects a person when he has an evil eye and cannot be happy when others have something good. Desire drives a person to try to satisfy his greedy soul. Searching for honor is the mission of a person with an arrogant spirit. Bilaam personified these three negative attributes and eventually they were the cause for his removal from the world.

The Maharal explains that these three negative traits are really the negative expression of the fundamental aspects of what makes us human. That is, following desires is a corruption of his physicality. A bad eye is a corruption of his spirituality. And seeking honor is a corruption of his intellect. These three parts, the physical, the spiritual and the intellect, comprise the essence of man. Bilaam was lost to the world while he was still in it.