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    Turning down the invitation – Ki Tavo

    A large part of the sidra is the Tochechah, the curses that come upon those who disobey God’s will.

    In many synagogues nobody wants to be called up for this portion, though they scramble for other sections of the Torah reading.

    Those who decline to be called for this portion are presumably superstitious, fearing that the curses will somehow attach to them and come true. Hence it is sometimes the rabbi who gets the Tochechah, maybe the shammash, possibly the ba’al k’ri’ah (the Torah reader).

    Actually whoever gets the curses is not being singled out for misfortune but he, as well as everyone else, is being given a reminder that blessing and curse are part of life.

    It doesn’t always work out that an individual who transgresses the Divine word gets to suffer, but a community that attaches itself to wrong-doing will suffer in the long run.

    What the Tochechah is about is not necessarily individual but national or communal punishment.

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