Redefining Curses


Happy Tuesday, everyone. I you all are doing well and had a great day and your weeks are off to a great start.

This week we are in Parshat Re'eih. And Re'eih is the Hebrew command to see. So what are the Israelites looking at when they're told, "Re'eih?" They are looking at two mountains, Mount Gerizim, which is a mountain of blessing, and Mount Ebal, a mountain of curse. And Rashi tells us they are not literally standing on them, but facing them. And they can turn one way and they recite the blessings (if they follow the commandments) that they will receive. And they turn to Mount Ebal they recite the curses they will receive if they don't follow the commandments.

Now this i very black and white, and I don't think it perfectly reflects our day today and the way we live but it is a powerful image of a mountain of good where everyone wants to live, a mountain of blessing, and a mountain of evil. And one way to understand this, one way to understand this, is with the medieval commentator Ibn Ezra, and he teaches us what a curse is. He teaches us that a curse is a deficiency of good. It's not just a pure evil, it's simply the lack of good. And I find this to be incredibly powerful, the idea that a curse isn't something inherently evil. It's something lacking enough goodness. And that places a lot of potential for all of us to right the ills of the world, to correct the wrongs we see every day.

When a curse is simply not enough good in the world, well then every little act that we do makes a difference and walks us from one mountain to the other, from the mountain of curse straight to the mountain of blessing. And it doesn't take a lot! And we have tons of potential to get our world, when we all work together, from Mount Ebal (the mount of curse) to Mount Gerizim. So ask yourself: What is it that you're going to do to bring good into the world? What is it that you are going to join hands with your neighbors and march from Mt Ebal to Mt. Gerizim, what is that act that you're going to take? Wishing you a wonderful week and some goodness. I hope you march from Mt. Ebal to Mt. Gerizim. Bye!

Alex KressComment