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    Not so bad & not so good – B’chukkotai

    suffrin-roee-torah-readingThe Reader lowers his voice for the Tochechah. No-one should get the idea that he enjoys enunciating the threats of punishment that come from disobedience.

    Even though the congregation realise that they are not his words but God’s, there is still the risk that someone will say, “I noticed that at a particular point he looked straight at me and raised his voice. He was obviously telling everyone that that particular verse was written with me in mind!”

    The fact is that we do sometimes quote a nasty passage from somewhere and apply it to someone we want to criticise. It is not a nice habit, but it happens.

    There actually is an antidote to this attitude hinted at in the Tochechah. There are blessings as well as curses.

    The lesson is that no-one is entirely bad. Nor for that matter are they entirely good. They are not as bad as you think they are. Nor are they as good as they themselves think they are.

    This applies to ourselves – not only to others. How are you or I to judge ourselves? We are not as bad as we fear or as good as we imagine.

    This may also be a good way to judge events and situations, to say things are both better, and worse, than they appear to be.

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