Post: I spotted a nice comment by Ibn Caspi a few days ago. As background to this, I should not that Ibn Caspi earlier resolves Hashem's anger at Bilaam for going, after telling him he could go, by noting that depending on intonation or context, a phrase might mean something or its opposite.
Then, he says:
To explain, Bilaam had this dream in which Hashem told him this instruction. Yet he was unsure just what Hashem meant (that is, I think, positive or negative connotation). His mind was dwelling on this topic. He arose and was on his way when he drifted off, and dozed. And this was his (prophetic) dream.
To a particular sort of pashtan and rationalist, this resolves how he was able to see a malach Hashem, meaning angel, who was first invisible. And how a donkey could talk.
If a dream, it would work out well with what I see as the allegorical message, in which Bilaam was his donkey. I suggested it could be allegorical even it is happened. But now we can simply say that it was allegory in a dream.
Lurker, on an earlier post, wrote:
Prof. Yitzhak Levine of Bar Ilan University has proposed an alternative understanding of the story that resolves this apparent contradiction, together with as many other problemmatic issues in this parsha. I find his interpretation quite convincing. You can find it in Hebrew here, and in English here.Professor Levine's suggestion is that it is a dream, and specifically a folding over explaining the precise contents of the second dream. In other words, Bilaam dreamed this that second night.