August 17th, 2017

The Torah portion of Re’eh begins with a cryptic statement (Deut. 11:26-28): רְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם בְרָכָה וּקְלָלָה – “See, today I place before you the blessing and the curse.”

This statement of Moses is rather strange for a number of reasons. Why did Moses instruct the nation to “see” rather than to “listen” — what exactly was the nation expected to see? Why did he personalize his statement with the word “I”? Why is the word for “see” in the singular if Moses was addressing the entire nation? Why are the words for “blessing” and “curse” in the singular, and not in the plural?

The next two verses are there to follow-up this initial proclamation, yet they are themselves full of anomalies and discrepencies.

Rabbi Dunner explores the commentaries that address these questions, and demonstrates how the multiple inconsistencies are actually the key to understanding Moses’ message to the Jewish nation, then, and for all time.

Photo: Replica of Michelangelo’s Moses. Copyright: jgaunion / 123RF Stock Photo

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