Note: We always read the portion of Ki Tavo on the penultimate Shabbat of the year, so that we do not enter Rosh HaShanah with the harrowing curses ringing in our ears. We present here an interesting Q&A relating to those curses.
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Please see Dt. 28:65 (towards the end of last week’s Parasha): “And among those nations you will not be tranquil, there will be no rest for the sole of your foot…” If this is meant to describe the current exile then how do we explain the post-Holocaust tranquillity of Jews in the West (until recently)? I suppose that before the introduction of the Inquisition and later Expulsion of the Jews from Spain they were living well and could have asked the same question.
I like your question.
This aspect of the curses may have been fulfilled at other times rather than in our times. Nachmanides himself (who says these curses relate to the Roman [=current] Exile) also says (Gen. 32:9) that when we are oppressed in and exiled from one country, another country takes us in and affords us a place to settle.
Others say that this reflects the fact (in their view) that the post-War era is not a process of Exile but rather a process of Redemption. We don’t belong in “tranquillity” in Europe and USA, but rather we must return to our Land and advance the cause of the Messianic Redemption. This is a provocative thought which I leave for your consideration.
May 5781 bring good things for us all.
Rabbi Rashi Simon