School for Biblical, Judaic & Spiritual Studies
Capturing God's Blessings & Using Them
Commentary to Parshat Ki Tavo
by Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.
The Torah teaches us that God blesses us if we are good, and curses us if we are bad. This is a fundamental Biblical belief. Yet, our own eyes bear witness to the clear and obvious fact that, possibly more often than not, good guys finish last, and bad guys most often finish first.
Life is not fair! While we believe in God, and believe that in the after-life He will balance all accounts, nevertheless, in the meantime here on Earth, the relationship between blessings, curses, and human behavior seems to be glaringly absent.
The more religious one is the more one seeks to justify God, and to blame man for the failure to receive the blessings of abundance that the religious believe that God owes them.
Many religious individuals turn to ridiculous ideas,
beliefs and practices that they consider will somehow magically materialize
God's blessings in their lives. These silly misguided practices are called
Segulot. Many religious believe in the effectiveness of these Segulot in spite
of having seen them fail consistently over and over again.
Blind faith is a terrible addiction that is extremely difficult to overcome.
There are numerous different types of Segulot, ranging from the benign reading of Psalms, to bizarre practices that are suspiciously close to forbidden magical rituals. Trusting in God is one thing. Trusting in one of these Segulot can not only be misleading, it can become a serious religious issue when the individual places more faith in a silly ritual more than in God directly.
Segulot do not bring blessings. On the contrary, what most of them create is false hopes, and delusional expectations. Needless to say, these outcomes are very detrimental to the rational, and yet simple faith, that every religious practitioner should embrace.
Blessings and curses are not brought about through magical means. Blind faith, and simple belief is also not enough to bring down upon our heads either blessing or curse.
What God demands from us human beings is that we take responsibility for our lives, and the things that we do in them. When we do what is right and good, with clear rational thinking, then blessings naturally occur, not because of magic, but rather because of the clear and precise planning, and actions that the smart individual takes.
Just as we mostly bring down blessings upon our own heads, so too are we, for the most part, responsible for any curses that may befall us.
A curse is not a wish, or a word, seeking misfortune from one upon another. A curse is not something that one can place on another. A curse is definitely something that one can place on oneself, through one's poor choices in the decisions that one makes through life.
Intelligence, and rational, calm, deliberated thinking is always a blessing. This type of thinking will be a blessing for anyone who embraces it, be that person good or bad. The wise person looks for pitfalls, and dangers along one's chosen route. This is why most of them are discovered, and avoided. This is a blessing.
The fool, on the other hand, makes rash decisions, ones that are not thought out clearly, and rationally. When one makes poor choices, the results of those choices cannot be avoided or circumvented. One hits the result of one's choices head on, and such a collision can be as devastating, as a collision of motor vehicles.
The fool does not need God to curse him/her, because he/she is already a curse to him/herself.
Actually, this is the way that God works with human beings. God touches one's heart, but He can also touch one's mind, be it with wisdom or folly. One can look towards the famous Biblical example of God hardening the heart of Pharaoh, preventing him from allowing the release of the Israelites prior to a time, and circumstance of God's choosing.
When God wants to bless or a curse a human being, all He has to do is to either open or close that individual's heart, or mind.
Human stubbornness can very easily be a curse from God.
Open mindedness is indeed a blessing from God.
Quick, rash behavior on our parts can indeed be a curse from God.
Patience, and tolerance on our parts is indeed a blessing from God.
This is the way that God works with human beings. He touches both the heart and the mind.
The next time you are faced with a decision, any decision, take a moment to observe yourself, and your thinking process. Ask yourself, how do I feel about this? What am I thinking about it? Am I in a rush to make a rash decision, or am I being clear headed, calm, rational, patient and tolerant? Ask yourself what is really going on inside your head and heart, and be honest with yourself with regards to what is really going on inside you!
Self observance, and being careful with regards to what one does is a blessing from God.
Being so darn convinced that “my way is the right way, and damn the consequences,” this way of thinking, or feeling, is a curse from God.
Yes, recognizing blessings and curses is really this simple. God touches the heart, and mind.
When your heart and mind is open and clear, then your channel to God is open and clear.
When your heart and mind are closed and clouded over, so too is your connection with God.
Yes, recognizing blessings and curses is really this simple.
As we can see, being open minded, and having an open
heart, is for the most part a matter of personal choice. God does indeed
influence us for either blessing or curse, but in the end, the final decision of
what to do, and how to behave belongs to us. And this reveals to us the
not-so-secret way of overcoming a curse, and to equally merit blessings.
We can choose our course of actions.
We can choose how we react to the way we feel.
We can choose whether or not to act upon bad thoughts, or to act wisely to dispel them.
We can choose! This is God's irrevocable gift to us. We can choose!
Our hearts might feel a certain way, and our
thoughts clouded and confused, but we can still choose a better path for
ourselves, following what is right, proper and righteous, regardless of how we
may feel about it. And this is how God blesses us.
When we rise above our own individual human
pettiness and act righteously, herein is God's blessings.
So, in conclusion, the power of blessings and curses
is in our own hands. God can indeed influence our hearts and minds, for blessing
or for a curse, but in the end we decide how to act.
We choose what to do, regardless of how we are
feeling, or what we are thinking. This is how we can turn any curse into
abundant blessings. God has given us this power. All we have to do is use it.
No one needs to suffer under the influence of a
self-made curse, because we have the power to create, and enjoy self-made
blessings. This is what God wants from us.
God's blessing to us is that we can bless ourselves!
Become a monthly supporter.
The Written Works of Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright (C) 1997 - 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.