Our parasha begins: “See (singular), I am placing before you (plural) today a blessing and a curse” (Devarim 11:26). Why does the pasuk start with a singular verb and switch to a plural pronoun? Apparently, it is to teach us about the double nature of service of Hashem, which applies both to the service of the individual and to the service of the public.
“See, I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse” (Devarim 11:26). On the one hand, even today, despite the past, whatever will be, there is a blessing before you. Even if in the past there was heavy fog and yesterday was gloomy, do not give up.
“The blessing – that you shall listen to the commandments …” (Devarim 11:27). The main blessing is not the external reward that one receives from Hashem but is the listening itself. Fortunate is the person who knows how to feel this, for then his life is like the Garden of Eden. When we make an appraisal of our lives, we will find that most people are not satisfied. Sometimes people think that it is because they are missing this or that, and they aim to obtain it so that they will finally be satisfied. Wonder of wonders – we always find ourselves lacking something, and we always have to toil to obtain it. It is like the edge of the sky in the eyes of a baby. The closer you get to it, the more it seems to be escaping us.
One of the serious commandments in our parasha is to be careful not to be swayed by the ways of idol worship in the Land, such as burning one’s children in the fire to the idols (Devarim 12:30-31). Indeed there was a very great concern that after entering the Land, Bnei Yisrael would be negatively impacted by the indigenous population. The Torah went about this in an interesting way, claiming that the idolatry was so despicable that people actually killed their children in the process.