This Shabbat we will be reading the portion “R’eh” of the fifth book of Torah – Devarim – דברים (words).
Moses tells the people of Israel, “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse.
The blessing that will come when they fulfill G‑d’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them.
Let’s look closely at the opening verse.
רְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָה
“See: I give before you today blessing and curse.” (11:26)
We will notice the word “today” there.
The Rebbi of Gur says that the word “today” in the verse hints to every day, for each and every day God renews the work of Creation, and when there is a new creation, there is also a new blessing.
And therefore every day one needs to choose one of the ways (either blessing or curse).
Every day we have dilemmas – good and evil, truth and falsehood, blessing and curse.
What was yesterday, is not valid today because the world of yesterday is not the world of today.
The opinions change, the norms change, and also the people change.
If we connect to “today”, to the reality of today, we will be able to connect to the era when Torah was given out of the feeling of relevance to our generation and our era.
But there is still a question we must ask:
If G‑d is all good, what does it mean that He gives a curse? How is it possible that the essence of G‑d is connected to a curse?
It is interesting to point that the R’ Yonatan Ben Uziel in his translation to Aramaic refers to the word:
קללה – curse
as the ‘replacement’ of blessing.
So, it appears that there is a blessing and then there is its replacement.
On one hand similar, on the other – different.
Maybe then there are different kinds of blessings.
There are open blessings we all easily see — those that we recognize as good.
Then there is another type of blessing associated with a deeper good that comes into the world through challenges and difficulty.
Usually one doesn’t see them as blessings at the onset. In time, however, one recognizes that they are real blessings.
So the opening verse could be understood like this:
“See, I give before you an open-revealed blessing and a concealed blessing”
May G-d bestow on you his open-revealed blessings.