Are You on The Right Path (For You)? by Yonatan Glicksman


This week's Parshah begins with the words “Re’eih Anochi Notein Lifneichem HaYom Berachah UKelalah,” “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse” (Devarim 11:26). Sforno comments that the reason the text reads “a blessing and a curse,” two complete opposites, is to show that those are the only two choices. One cannot make compromises, and there is no middle road. When performing God's will if you do not go along with the blessing, then you have chosen the curse.

Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk uses the same Pasuk to prove an opposing point. He notes the unusual change in language in this Pasuk. The beginning of the Pasuk, “Re’eih,” is in singular, while the Pasuk later switches to the plural, “Lifneichem ”. What is the reason for this switch from being directed at one individual, to many? The Kotzker Rebbe says that the reason for this sudden change has to do with the fact that the blessing and the curse are the only two choices. When God places the choices “Lifneichem,” “before you (pl.)," they are the same two choices for everyone. However, when God says “Re’eih,” “Behold (sing.),” everyone perceived the two choices differently. Not everyone sees things the same way as everyone else. What one person considers bad, another person considers good. Each individual “beheld” the blessing and the curse according to who they were.

According to Sforno, there were only two paths to choose from, but according to R’ Menachem Mendel, those two paths were not the same for everyone. Each person has his or her own paths and while on a national level there are many ways to achieve the blessing individually, there are but two paths. We shouldn’t be so quick to judge the path of someone else. Simply because it is the wrong path for you doesn’t mean that it is the wrong path for him.

Royal Regulations by Shmuel Garber

Combating False Prophets by Yonatan Kaplan