3 minutes to read
Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Ki Savo – Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
When in the middle of a fight, ever thought, “Where is this coming from?” I have, even when I started the argument. Hannah and I never quarrel when we feel connected. One of us has to create distance between us so the feud has a place to grow. Separation also allows me to craft a scenario in my head to support my grievance. The reality of the situation doesn’t matter. When I read Parshas Ki Savo, I realized this process permeates life:
“…all of these blessings will come upon you and cleave to you…” and “…all of these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 28:2 and 15)
In this Sabbath’s parsha, the Israelites continue preparations for entering the Land of Israel by discussing the first fruits offering. Next, Moses reiterates the inseparability of G-d and Israel. Then he details the blessings and curses that will befall them depending on how well they follow the Torah. At the end of the parsha, Moses begins his final exhortation to the Children of Israel.
Disconnection Leads to Problems
You probably noticed the two verses above are the same except two words. In the original Hebrew, only the words blessings and curses are different. The Hebrew word, v’hisigucha, gets translated two different ways. For the blessings, it means "cleave to" and for the curses, "overtake." So good and bad enter our lives through similar mechanisms.
V’hisigucha comes from the root, naga, which means, “make contact with.” Of course, this includes being gently tapped, struck with a stick, or emotionally moved. You may have abundant blessings but not satisfied. In that case, the blessings are essentially wasted. You have not allowed them to touch your life. You may be too disconnected to notice them. Or, they may be disguised as a disaster that only later reveals its benefit. The blessing has cut through your lack of awareness. Only then will you and the blessing be joined.
If you remain oblivious to blessings, G-d will need to awaken you by having curses touch your life. If they rouse you, you can correct your behavior. But if you’re unreceptive, the curses will have to overtake and strike you until you take notice and change.
When disengaged from your loved ones and the Almighty, you miss opportunities for self-improvement. You also cannot see the bounty of goodness in your life.
AWACS that Trouble is Brewing
The current cost of an E-3 Sentry is almost $400 million ($298 million in 1998 dollars). You can see the premium the Air Force puts on getting early warning of a threat. So where can you get an affordable harbinger of problems in your life?
Track how connected you feel to your family and events in your life. Take a moment each day to assess how you and your spouse greeted each other. Did you feel bonded? Yes? Great! No? Beware. You may be missing some blessings. Curses may be looking to overtake you. The same applies to any relationship, whether with people or G-d. The closer the connection the more frequently you need to gauge its solidity.
Social media can be a good tool for staying in touch. But it can isolate you from real people. Liking and commenting on posts doesn’t foster the kind of connection that prevents trouble. You’ll need more direct, one-on-one contact. Face-to-face is best. But with greater separation, you lose some information. Skype and Facetime work when you’re far away. You’ll miss visual cues you when on the phone, but it will suffice. Texting sacrifices anything visual plus the subtext of tone and inflection in verbal communication.
Make sure you do a daily or weekly review of your life. What is the status of your health and finances? What progress have you made on your priorities? Have you held true to your mission and values? Periodic assessments reduce the chances you’ll overlook blessings and fail to see curses are tailing you.
It can be exhausting to stay connected. Ironically, to maintain your resilience you should disconnect on a regular basis. We live in such a visual society, activities like watching television may not provide the separation you need. Physical activity is excellent. Listening to music will work. Try meditation. And of course, would you expect a rabbi to leave out praying? Sure you’re connecting with the Creator. But if you seek repose in prayer, you’ll find it in plenty.
Separation and inattention always let you know trouble is brewing. Be intentional in staying connected to loved ones, colleagues, yourself, and G-d. That way you can embrace your blessings and avoid a lot of curses.
How do you avoid becoming disconnected from loved ones and life? Please comment below.
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!