Photo of an upside down house.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Blessings and Curses

Why we should pray that the best things in our life continue to benefit us and others.

On Yom Kippur, the people of Sharon, a region subject to earthquakes, pleaded with God that their houses would not become their graves. One way to understand this prayer is that we pray for our blessings not to become our curses.

Wealth is a great blessing. When it brings with it ostentation, rapacious competition, empty acquisition, we have allowed a blessing to become a curse.

Freedom is a blessing. When we allow that freedom to lead to the unmooring of our values and character, it has become a curse.

Passion for the causes of the world is vital. When that passion for the causes outside our door leads us to neglect those in our home, to express love to strangers and treat those closest to us indifferently or cruelly, a blessing has become a curse.

We are approaching the New Year. It is a time for renewal. This is a good time for a prayer: We who have so many blessings should pray, in the tradition of the people of Sharon: Dear God, may our blessings not become our curses, and may we continue to be blessed.

Rabbi David Wolpe’s musings are shared in My Jewish Learning’s Shabbat newsletter, Recharge, a weekly collection of readings to refresh your soul. Sign up to receive the newsletter.

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