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Amid Israel’s war in Gaza, there is talk of drafting yeshivah students into the army to bolster its ranks. On Shavuot, we celebrate the anniversary of receiving the Torah, so I want to write about the role of Torah in war. The Torah is not just a dusty old book …

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Home » Lech L'cha

Lech L’cha: The Power of Blessing

Submitted by on November 2, 2005 – 1:13 amNo Comment | 2,682 views

Two Anomalies

In our Parsha G-d makes a powerful promise to Avraham, one we would all have loved to receive. “And I shall bless those who bless you, and he who curses you shall be cursed.” Upon examination, the reader will notice two anomalies.

1.The verse refers to those who bless Avraham in the plural but to he who curses Avraham in the singular.
2.G-d’s blessing is treated in the text before those who bless Avraham but his curse appears in the text only after he who curses Avraham.

Blessings that Contain Further Blessings

The Torah is a concise text and every word is perfectly designed, what message do these two points deliver?

1.In promising favor to his many friends and wrath to his one enemy G-d parenthetically assured Avraham that he would have many friends but only one enemy. This parenthetical point was a blessing in and of itself.

2.The second point can be resolved in one of two ways:
The Talmud teaches that reward for a good deed is initiated at the moment of resolution but punishment for a wicked deed does not commence till the deed was carried out. G-d assured Avraham that blessing would flow to his friends from the moment they resolved to bless him but that curse would be withheld from his enemies till they did in fact curse.

The Talmud exhorts us to never disdain the blessing of an ordinary person for all blessing, even one that originates with an ordinary person, is divine. Before the ordinary person offers his blessing G-d graces it with divine power. G-d therefore promised that he would bless those who wanted to bless Avraham even before their blessing was offered, thus assuring Avraham that all his blessings would be graced by G-d.


It appears that he who desires G-d’s blessing need only offer his own blessing to others. Like a smile, our blessing can transform another’s day; it brightens our own life and doesn’t cost us a dime. What are we waiting for?

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