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Re’eh: The path to blessing

The Jewish people are presented with a stark choice – prosperity or destruction. In the opening words of the sedra of “Re’eh”, Moses tells the people that they can control their own fate. If they listen to G-d’s commandments the consequence will be a blessing, but if they do not they will be cursed. The sentiment seems straightforward; the parallelism between blessing on the one hand and curse on the other is clear. However, a closer inspection of the original Hebrew texts reveals some anomalies. For instance, the blessings will come “asher” – “when” you listen to the commandments but the curses are introduced with a different word – they will come “im” – “if” you do not. In addition, th