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    Blessings & curses – Re’eh

    The Torah reading commences with the principle of free will. It says, Re’eh – “See, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse” (Deut. 11:26). The blessing is specified in the following verse. It is, “if you heed the command of the Lord your God”.

    There are at least two ways of understanding these words. One way is that if you heed God’s word you will receive a blessing.

    The second, which is the interpretation put forward by Rashi on the basis of earlier rabbinic teaching, is that the blessing is the fact that you choose to hearken to and obey the command of the Almighty – i.e. the blessing is that you make the choice to accept the mitzvot, and the curse is that you choose to reject them.

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