14 Elul – 31 August 2023
Deuteronomy 28 contains G-d’s foreboding admonition of what will happen to the people of Israel if we stray from Him and His instructions.
Verse 47 lays out the bottom line about why we may suffer these curses:
“Because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, with joy and gladness of heart, when everything was abundant.”
This seems to be setting the bar extremely high. Even if we have been serving G-d, if it isn’t with joy, He will bring terrible punishments upon us. This is certainly hard to understand.
The Kotzker Rebbe spins this verse a bit differently and in a way that sounds more palatable:
“Because when you didn’t serve Hashem, your G-d, it was with joy and gladness of heart…”
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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