Is this as simple as it seems? Do what God commands, God will reward you. Violate God's commands, God will punish you.
So... good things will only happen to good people, and bad things to those who deserve to be punished. Right?
We all know that this is not always the case. And not only us - our Rabbis and teachers have known this for a very long time. The problem is so obvious that it has a name: theodicy. You can read an explanation of theodicy and Judaism's response in this selection from Sacred Fragments, by Neil Gillman
Are there other ways to understand this parasha? Let's look at a few:
Different translation of what happens if you follow the commandments, from Hillel.org, a site for college students
Is there another way to understand the curses? from It's the Joy, not the Oy, at Kolel
What is there in this parasha that relates to the current conversation about food -
- what is a "locovore"?
- what is "sustainable farming"?
- and what does this have to do with the parasha?
As you read through the text of the parasha - 26:1 - 29:8 of the book of Devarim,
- what are the Big Ideas you want your students to remember after they have forgotten all the details?
- What are the Essential Questions you want them to ask themselves? Those are the questions that, if they can answer them, will be evidence that they have understood these Big Ideas?
This parasha is always read during the month of Elul. Can you relate what you have read in the text with this time in the calendar?
Please feel free to send your comments, questions, reactions so we can have a rich conversation on-line, if not in person.
See you next week.