Deuteronomy 26:1 –29:8
Fifty-three verses. That is how long the interminable list of curses take in this week’s parasha as punishment for not following God. The number of blessings for doing right just pale in comparison.
It would be easy, understandable even, to focus on the negative and gloss over the good. Yet, doing so would cause us to miss one of the single most important teachings of Torah. The curses come: “because you [meaning us] would not serve the Lord your God in joy and gladness over the abundance of everything.” [Deut. 28:47]
One little verse, buried in the midst of a long litany of curses, says more than all fifty-three verses together: cultivate a life of gratitude, recognize the role of God in “the abundance of everything,” and even if the world around us seems filled with curses, we will somehow be able to find and live with joy.
All the rest is commentary.
Hi there! I am the senior rabbi at Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, Maryland, where I have served since 2016.
(c) copyright 2018 by Rabbi Gary Pokras