From The Home, Fountain of Torah (#967) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
I remember once reading in a sefer (book) from about 300 years ago, a talmid chacham (Torah scholar) described what his mother once told him. He said he cannot forget his mother: she stood before him. “If I were a man,” she said to her son, “I would not stop learning Torah day and night!” She said it with such a fire, the fire went into his blood. That’s inscribed in the old sefer.
In the olden days it was a fire of Torah in the hearts of the mothers, and the fathers surely. And the farther back you go, it’s true more and more. In the midbar (desert) they were just fresh from Matan (the Giving of the) Torah. The flames that they saw on Matan Torah were still burning in the homes of each tent.
When Bilaam lifted up his eyes and he saw Yisrael and their tents, he said “Mah tovu — How beautiful are those tents.” And he went on to describe them.
From these tents will come forth rivers of pure water, of inspiration and idealism
“K’nechalim nitayu, k’gan al tzadei nahar — like streams that are flowing, like gardens by the river." It means from these tents will come forth rivers of pure water, of inspiration and idealism in all the generations. When the fathers and mothers inspire their children like they were doing then in the midbar in these tents, there will be an eternal river of greatness, of nobility, that will flow in all the generations. Who knows how much even today we’re indebted to the spirit that they implanted in their children in those days.
“Karazim alei mayim — It’s like the cedar trees.” Not only did they teach them Torah, but they taught them beautiful middos (character traits), the fragrance of good character and good qualities and proper behavior. Kaholim, like the aloe trees, k’arazim, like cedar trees. Ever pass a cedar forest and breathe in the fragrance of the pine forest? The Am Yisrael at the time was beautiful in knowledge of Torah and also in middos tovos, in character. He said “yizal mayim midalav, v’zaro k’mayim rabim — your water is going to flow from the spring and his posterity, his seed, will continue like great waters,” it will flow from these tents.