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    Reward & punishment – Ki Tavo

    The tochechah, which lists blessings and curses evoked by human conduct, is scary and frightening.

    It is the second version of the list of rebukes, the first being in Parashat Bechukkotai.

    Who is the target – the individual or the nation?

    The text threatens us, “I will turn upon you disease and fever; you shall sow your seed in vain; I will punish you seven times for your sins”.

    Obviously we are being warned not to sin or else we will have to face the consequences. But who is the “we”?

    Albo says in his Ikkarim (4:39) that it is the nation as a whole, not necessarily any individual.

    A second question – why are the rewards and punishments physical, not spiritual?

    Ibn Ezra suggests that the majority of people are only moved by physical things and it would be too sophisticated for them if the rewards and punishments were spiritual.

    In a somewhat similar vein, Ramban says that spiritual rewards and punishments are axiomatic and only the physical aspects need to be specified.

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