September 4th, 2020

There is nothing worse in the Torah than a curse. In Ki Tavo there is a whole list of curses associated with specific violations. A couple of examples of the terrible sins worthy of an “arur” – someone who moves his neighbors’ boundary, or someone who misleads a blind man. The curses seem to be aimed at those who are guilty of underhanded behavior.

But one curse sticks out, out of tune with the rest. The Ramban astonishingly says that this curse is aimed at those who don’t do Hagba properly (Hagba is lifting up the Torah at the end of a Torah reading and showing the columns to the gathered congregation).

Rabbi Dunner offers a compelling explanation for this curious Ramban commentary, suggesting that Hagba is much more than a ritual custom. Actually, Hagba is a window into who we are as people of faith.

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