Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Blessing And A Curse

So, this coming week we will read Re’eh. We read about G-d setting a blessing and a curse before us. As has been commented on, this starts with the word, “See”. How often do we have blessings put in front of us and we are unaware? How often do we choose not to see the curse that is in front of us, to ignore it and just continue on? There are a lot of good things for which we should be thankful and often times we do not stop to appreciate them.

The opening sentence also switches tenses. It moves from the singular into the verbal, thus breaking the rules of grammar. It is as if G-d is making it sound as though he is talking to each one of us about the blessings and curses put before the entire community. To me, this helps drive home the message that we are all in the same boat together and need to work together.

Each one of us has a separate relation with G-d and relates differently. Each one of us, we are told, is judged on the merits of his or her own actions and ability. This is why Moses can be punished for something so seemingly innocent as striking a rock instead of talking to it (I still have major problems with this one but that is a topic for another day). Still, we are a community who needs to help each other out. Still, we are a community that suffers when just one individual sins.

Years ago I heard the story about a man on a boat who took out a drill and started to drill a hole in the bottom of the boat. One of the other passengers asked, “Hey, what are you doing”?

“Don’t worry about it,” came the reply, “I am only drilling the hole under my seat”. All passengers would still suffer the consequences.

Yes, when we are told to “See” the blessing and the curse, G-d wants it to seem as though each person is being talked to one-on-one. Still, it switches to the plural because G-d is reminding us that, while we are each judged individually, a blessing effects the entire community as does a curse.

Certainly that is what I take away from this.

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