Off the Pulpit

Blessings and Curses

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