The Sixties Radical-Azriel Blessings in Disguise

What looks bad on the surface in actuality is a blessing in disguise.

“Jewish mysticism teaches us that G‑d, the Torah, and humanity all possess both hidden and revealed dimensions. In the Torah’s “revealed” dimension, the corrective punishments described in these verses are indeed curses; but in the Torah’s concealed dimension, these “punishments” are really blessings. This does not mean that they are only “figurative” blessings – painful experiences we must endure for a greater good. They are real blessings, and not just ordinary blessings, but the greatest, most sublime blessings.

In fact, it is specifically the most sublime blessings that have to be couched (and sometimes experienced) as curses. This is because whenever G‑d bestows a blessing upon us, it must first pass through the heavenly “court,” where the prospective recipient is judged as to whether he or she is worthy of receiving it. However, when a blessing is “disguised” as a curse, it “bypasses” the court’s “prosecuting attorneys” and makes its way straight to us, its recipients.

When we experience what appears to be a Divine curse, it is really His blessing in disguise. This awareness helps transform G‑d’s hidden blessings into revealed ones.1 Tanya, chapter 26; Igeret HaKodesh 11, 22; Likutei Sichot, vol. 7, p. 233, vol. 19, pp. 136–139.

After describing the rewards for fulfilling G‑d’s will, the Torah describes the consequences of neglecting to fulfill His will.

[G‑d said,] “If you do not listen to Me . . . ” Leviticus 26:14-43

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