Questions and Suggested Answers
Based on the writings of Nehama Leibowitz
Compare the two verses (27,28) that formed the subject of our discussion and find further discrepancies in the correspondences between them both. Can they be explained in accordance with Rashi’s comment we cited here?
In the clause dealing with the blessing, the verb “Tishme’u” implies compliance - deeds. In the second clause dealing with the curse, the text states the negative - not doing - together with a definition of non-compliance: “but turn aside from the way....” These last words do not correspond to the first portion of the verse. This discrepancy can fit in with Rashi’s comment. Simply not obeying by being passive would not be enough to warrant the curse. Specific evil acts, i.e. abuse of God’s marvelous creation, would have to be perpetrated in order to bring the curse.
Compare Rashi here: Al Me’nat with Rashi on Exodus (20-6) Oseh hesed. What is the common idea underlying both?
Rashi on Shmot (20-6) is basing his commentary on the idea expressed in Parashat Re’eh - that the quality of chesed is already present in the world and with the performance of mitzvot, it expands even further. Thus blessing brings with itself a greater measure of recompense to future generations than does the punishment meted out to future generations for transgression.
Prepared by: Rabbi Mordechai Spiegelman veteran yeshiva educator (USA) now residing in Jerusalem