Parashas Ki Savo, Part 3

A major element of this week’s parashah is the tochachah: the litany of curses that will come upon us if we do not heed Hashem’s word. One of the verses in the tochachah reads as follows (Devarim 28:61): “Also every sickness and every plague that is not written in this book of law, Hashem shall put upon you until you are destroyed.” The Maggid notes that, at first glance, this verse is hard to understand – did Hashem tire out or run out of parchment so as to be unable to write down these other curses?
The Maggid then explains as follows. We suffer exile and affliction in order to purge the sins of our fathers that still influence our behavior. As Yirmiyah puts it (Eichah 5:7): “Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we have borne their iniquities.” The Torah itself puts the matter in the following way (Devarim 4:25-26): “When you beget children and grandchildren and become old-time residents of the land, and become corrupt, and make all sorts of graven images, and do evil in the eyes of Hashem to anger Him. I appoint today Heaven and Earth as witnesses concerning you, that you shall surely become lost quickly from upon the land .…” At a specified point, our measure of sin will be filled and we will go into exile.
The Torah pronounced curses upon us according to the measure of our fathers’ sins, as reckoned by the number of years they dwelled in the land (see Rashi on Devarim 4:25). But if we sin further, beyond the measure of our fathers’ sins, the curses stated in the Torah do not suffice. Moreover, just as our deeds are indeterminate, so too the curses are indeterminate. It is regarding this that the Torah states: “Also all every sickness and every plague that is not written ….” The verse is referring to the punishment for the extra sins, beyond the measure that the Torah specifies.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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