Ki Savo -What a Blessing!

The majority of this week’s Torah portion of Ki Savo discusses the blessings bestowed upon one who diligently observes the Torah and performs its mitzvos, as well as the curses meted out for transgressing them. Towards the beginning of the blessings the Torah says: “Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your animals; the offspring of your cattle and the flocks of your sheep and goats. Blessed shall be your fruit basket and your kneading bowl” (Devarim 28:4, 5).

The Rabbeinu Bachye observes that the Torah first discusses the blessing to one’s body, followed by the blessing to one’s food, but, when it comes to the curses it first mentions “your fruit basket” and then “the fruit of your womb.” The Rabbeinu Bachye says the reversal is to teach us that Hashem first punishes us through our property and, if we do not do teshuva (repent),He will then punish us on our bodies. The Rabbeinu Bachye concludes by citing a medrish that says that The Merciful One does not start with the soul when seeking retribution. (Click here for Hebrew text.)

One can understand why the curses start with one’s money and then progress to one’s body if he or she continues in their evil ways. We find elsewhere in the Torah an example similar to this by tzaraas. Hashem first strikes the house with tzaraas for the one who speaks loshon hara (slander). If it continues it spreads onto one’s clothes. If a person still persists in slandering others, only then will it spread to the person’s body. However, one would think that the ultimate blessing from the Almighty would first be to be blessed with wealth then to be blessed with children, in order to properly take care of one’s household without a moment of despair and stress;  so why the switch in order? It is understood that one must have trust in Hashem, that one will be able to support his family; but when speaking in terms of a blessing, one would think that they would be given in the most optimum manner. Especially a blessing from Hashem which the Rabbeinu Bachye a paragraph before describes as a blessing of things one does not have to run after, rather  the blessings will come to you, meaning there is not much effort needed to put into gaining these blessings besides fulfilling Hashem’s Torah and mitzvos.

It must be that even when talking in terms of the ultimate divine blessing, the number one blessing is having children, the continuity of life in this world. Everything else is secondary and there really is never anything else to be worried about especially if you are doing the right thing.

Leave a Reply