A curse or a blessing? - what we can learn from Meron

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

In this week's Torah portion, words appear that are difficult to read. Side by side with the blessings, there are also curses and descriptions of horrific future scenarios. "Each man will stumble over his brother, as if fleeing from a sword, but without a pursuer." (Leviticus 26:37) The Torah describes here a troubling scenario in which we run and fall on top of each other, without an external enemy pursuing us. Sounds familiar.

Yet Rashi, in his interpretation of this sad passage, reminds us of an uplifting maxim: "All Jews are responsible for one another." (Talmud Bavli, Shavuot 39a). In other words, if you can weaken someone and cause him to fall, you can also strengthen him. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that Rashi discovered consolation within a harsh curse. We are not only connected physically, but spiritually as well. And just as we can fall down together, we can rise together too. We are all connected, and dependent upon one another.

Shabbat shalom.

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