Hi… It’s me. Benny.
Moshe turned to his people, “Re’eh! “See!” It’s your choice and it’s up to you whether your life will be filled with BLESSINGS or CURSES!
Es HaBerachah! When you will listen and obey the commandments of HaShem, you will be showered with many, many, BLESSINGS – from Aleph till Tav!”
“Hmmm ‘from Aleph to Tav’…. sounds like an amazing deal!”
“Sounds like a whole bunch of blessings… from A to Z!”
“VeHaklalah!” Moshe continued, “If you do not listen and worship idols you will be setting yourself up for CURSES. Truly, there is nothing worse than idol worship. Remember, my people, to worship idols is to totally deny G-d Almighty. Do not exchange HaShem, the Creator of the world, for a simple piece of stone, wood, or clay!”
“Sounds a lot like the story of our forefather Avraham. His entire life was dedicated to getting rid of idol worship.”
“Yes… And teaching the world monotheism!”
Mono…what? What’s that?”
“Mah-no-thee-iz-um, the firm belief of one and only one G-d.”
Moshe continued, “Hashem wants you to settle the Land so you will be able to keep His Mitzvos in the best way possible. It’s Hashem Who will choose a special place where you will witness miracles every single day of the year!”
“Oh my! The place HaShem will choose! I wonder where that will be.”
“Even your entrance to this land will be spectacular!”
“Hmmm… spectacular. That sounds pretty spectacular!’
“Yeah… and I wonder if Moshe is going to describe this or keep us in suspense?”
“Remember how HaShem split the sea?” Moshe asked, not expecting an answer. (BTW, that is called a rhetorical question.)
“Well, history is about to repeat itself,” Moshe continued. “The Jordan River will miraculously split and you will be able to cross on dry land. Do you know why HaShem is doing this for you?”
“Yes! I know why!”
“Quiet. It’s a rhetorical question. Moshe Rabbeinu is not expecting an answer from you.”
Moshe explained, “It’s to show you that HaShem is about to perform even more miracles, as He helps you conquer and divide the land.”
So, what’s a rhetorical question? It’s asking a question without expecting an answer, as in, “How many times did I tell you to wipe your feet on the rug before coming into the house?!” Or… “If all is not lost, where is it?” Or… “Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?”
The purpose of such questions is often to get the person to think. Going back to Moshe’s first encounter with HaShem at the Burning Bush, HaShem said, “Who gives man a mouth to speak, ears to hear, or eyes to see? Is it not I, HaShem?”
So, why didn’t Moshe answer HaShem?
It’s because it was a rhetorical question!
The great Spanish Torah sage, Rabbeinu Bachya (1255-1340) makes the following observation:
Notice the difference of wording:
“Es HaBrachah – the blessing when you will listen” – you will receive the blessing when you will (certainly) listen to HaShem.
“ViHaklalah – And the curse if you do not listen” – meaning, it’s a big IF that you won’t listen to HaShem.
Moshe Rabbeinu sure was a sensitive and smart educator. He also sounds like a great motivational speaker!
את הברכה – Es HaBerachah! Notice that the word ES (את) begins with an Aleph and ends with a Tav. The Mitzvos we do and the goodness with which HaShem blesses us encompass every part of our lives, from A to Z – or shall we say, from Aleph to Tav?
BTW: והקללה – VeHaklalah! Look carefully and you won’t find the word ES (את), before the curses. Can you think why?