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והיו חייך תלואים לך מנגד ופחדת לילה ויומם ולא תאמין בחייך

Your life will hang in the balance, and you will be frightened night and day, and you will not be sure of your livelihood. (28:66)

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Blessing and curse are a matter of perspective. Two people can view the same situation through different prisms, allowing them to derive separate conclusions. The Torah writes that, as a result of the nation’s break with Hashem, they will be subject to various curses: “Your life will hang in the balance… you will not be sure of your livelihood.” Rashi explains that Jews will not be sure of their safety. Concerning their livelihoods, they will be forced to subsist on what they can purchase daily. They will never be sure that the markets will not be shut down – in general – or, to them, specifically. How can relying on daily sustenance be considered a curse? When we journeyed in the wilderness for forty years, this is exactly how we lived. Every day we looked out the door of our tents to discover our daily portions of Manna. There was no guarantee. When we went to bed at night there were no snacks. Nothing remained from our daily portion. When it was gone, it was gone. The next day brought new hope, new food. Is this to suggest that our wilderness sojourn was filled with curse?

Horav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zl, explains that being compelled to seek food daily was in and of itself not a curse. The curse was, “You will not be sure (because you will be lacking in emunah, faith, in Hashem) of your livelihood.” The fact that you view going to the store daily scrounging for bread as a curse is because you view this experience through the lens of a non-believer. On the contrary, a believing Jew sees this as an opportunity to come closer to Hashem, to see firsthand, up front, how Hashem’s Divine Providence plays itself out in his life. As the famous maxim goes, “For the believer, there are no questions; for the non-believer, there are no answers.” Furthermore, we may add: The believer sees an opportunity for affirming his belief. The non-believer views everything through his jaundiced perspective. Thus, he is always filled with questions and ridicule, because his perceptions support his misplaced allegiances.