Thursday, May 26, 2016


The Most Horrible Curses in the World!

​   by Reb Gutman Locks

The Most Horrible Curses in the World!


     This week's Torah portion[i] lists the most gruesome curses a Jew could possibly imagine; each one more horrible than the one before it. They are hard to read let alone look back on our history and see that they actually happened.

     What disgusting sin could we possibly have done or (G-d forbid) could we possibly do that would bring about such horrible things? No one could have done anything that evil.

     The Torah tells us what we did. The curses are listed twice. Here and in the book of Deuteronomy. The second time they are listed the Torah tells us exactly what we did that brought them. They came "…because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, amid gladness and goodness of heart, when everything was abundant."[ii]

     We were serving. It does not say that the curses came because we refused to serve G-d. It says that even when everything was good for us we did not serve Him with joy.

     G-d wants His children to be happy. Every father wants his children to be happy. And when even an earthly father gives his child whatever he needs and still sees the child serving him reluctantly or with sorrow, the father gets angry with the child.

     G-d wants us to be happy so He gives us what we need. No, we do not get everything on our dream list. We get the things that are best for us and have earned.

     G-d wants us to be happy, especially when we are doing a mitzvah. Then, when He sees that we are following His instructions happily He will be able to give us even more.


[i] Leviticus 26, Bechukosai

[ii] Deuteronomy 28:47


  1. Not a happy camperMay 27, 2016 12:32 PM

    Dear Rabbi Locks, You're a wonderful spiritual teacher and a truly benevolent soul. That said, I have to disagree with you on one point. You wrote that, "Ha-Shem wants us to be happy."

    To be perfectly honest, that sounds rather like Joel Olsteen and every other motivational speaker who preaches the gospel of "Don't worry! Be happy! If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade!" Of course, the assumptions here are 1. you've got the means and wherewithal to obtain the water and the sugar and all the accoutrements that are necessary for concocting such an exilir, and 2. that you're confident and willing to invest whatever it takes to produce this healing ambrosia.

    If you're stating that Ha-Shem wants everyone to be happy, then why do some people - yes, even Jews - suffer from alexithymia? Why are others born with a genetic predisposition to psychological disorders such as autism, Asperger's Syndrome, manic depression, and schizophrenia (et al)? Why are some people bipolar, whilst other are sociopaths? If Ha-Shem truly wanted EVERYONE to be happy, despite the vicissitudes of life, then why not remove these psychological disorders from the human equation? Okay, perhaps it's because Ha-Shem isn't a fan of eugenics. Jews, more than any other people, have a reason to eschew eugenics. Yet, that doesn't prevent them from undergoing genetic screening for Tay-Sachs. Further, what set of Jewish parents want to marry off their offspring to someone (or some family) who suffers from depression or schizophrenia, et cetera? How do you think it feels to be treated like a pariah? My answer? Well, it doesn't exactly make me very happy. To be continued....

  2. Not a happy camperMay 27, 2016 12:33 PM

    Some people have spent tens-of-thousands of dollars on buying and studying books on Judaism and Hasidism; some have spent thousands of hours watching and listening to rabbinic discourses; some have spent hundreds of hours in sessions with psychologists; some have taken a vast array of anti-psychotic drugs, at the behest of psychiatrists, which ironically carry with them the side effect of causing depression and an increase in suicidal thoughts. What's the answer? Is one just suppose to strap on a pair, man up, and be content with one's depressive lot in life? Is one to spend all their free time serving up slop at a soup kitchen and engaging in other good works? Is one suppose to sing and dance their depression away, per the admonishment of the Baal Shem Tov? What's the solution? "Laugh, clown! Laugh! Even though your heart is breaking!" Oh, I know! Maybe "Yashka" is the answer to all of my problems? ::::rolling my eyes:::: Some of us have done all of the above and yet ... happiness alludes us.

    My point is this.... If Ha-Shem wants you to be happy, then you'll be happy. If Ha-Shem wants you to be miserable, then you'll be miserable. For some, Ha-Shem is a loving Father. For others...? What more can I say? Yes, I know.... It all comes down to one's kavanah and the time one devotes to hitbodedut, right? Pray for something long enough and eventually Ha-Shem will answer your prayers, right? Of course, we're talking about the same Deity Who said, "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the L-RD, that doeth all these things" (JPS, Isaiah 45:7). Sure, I know He also said, "... let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, that they may bring forth salvation," but for whom? "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (JPS, Exodus 33:19). Some of us get it and some of us don't.

    And if you dare to ask, "Why, Ha-Shem?" What do you get in response? Well, you get the same old answer time and time again - "Teshuvah! Emunah! Hitbodedut! Be content!" followed by a side order of "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the L-RD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (JPS, Isaiah 55:8-9).

    Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt that Ha-Shem is the Bestower of Goodness. Gam zu l'tovah, right? I'm just saying that Ha-Shem keeps some people miserable, because being miserable MUST BE in their immediate and long-term best interest, which also works for the good of humanity as a whole. Do I find any comfort in that hashkafah? NOPE! If I could find comfort in it, then I'd be happy, but I'm not. So, there you go. It sucks to be me.

  3. "happy camper" It seems to me that your doing fine, your not delusional and your honest about your own world. Most religions have a weak grip on reality, so don't judge yourself by other peoples views, which usually consists of things they read in a book!
    Your out on the edge, stay sharp and you'll do well.

  4. Our beliefs do not solve our deepest hurts and sorrows, nor do they exactly answer our questions. But we have to have hope.


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