The Two Mountains: Blessings and Curses

The Two Mountains: Blessings and Curses

Moshe commanded his nation, “On the very first day that you will enter the land of Israel, together with Yehoshua, gather together near two mountains. Six tribes – Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yissachar, Yosef and Binyamin – on Mount Gerizim. The other six tribes – Reuven, Gad, Asher, Zevulun, Dan and Naftali – on Har Eival.”

“Hmmm, mountain climbing… sure sounds exciting!”

“The elders of the Tribe of Levi, both Kohanim and Levi’im, should stand in the valley between the 2 mountains, together with the holy Aron from the Mishkan. Once everyone is in position, let the elders face the six tribes standing on Mount Gerizim, and bless the entire nation in a loud voice. All the people should respond, saying, ‘Amein!’”

“Very interesting. The elders face one mountain looking at only half the nation, yet all of us must answer ‘Amein.’”

“And then the elders should face the six tribes standing at Mount Eival, and curse the entire nation in a loud voice – ‘Cursed are those who will make idols.’ Once again, all the people should respond with ‘Amein!’”

“OH NO! Curses. That’s terrible!”

“But I am sure it’s for our own benefit.”

“Good thinking… it keeps us from ever doing these terrible sins.”

Moshe concluded, “This is how it will work with the rest of the blessings and curses – back and forth, turning from one mountain to the other, giving blessings and curses. After each blessing and each curse, all the people should answer, ‘Amein.’”

“So it’s the same exact ‘Amein’ for two opposite thoughts!”

“Yeah! The “Blessing-Amein” is “let’s-try-our-best-to-make-it-happen!”

“And the “Curses-Amein” is “let’s-try-our-best-to-never-make-it-happen!”

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