There are beautiful and harmonious aspects of life and of history. There are also some very uncomfortable, painful or even horrific episodes or periods of time. On a personal level, too, we tend to start out with rosy ideals or images of how good everything is going to be. Then, at some point, for many of us, we are challenged by situations which seem almost unbearable.

A similar pattern is seen in this week's Torah reading. First we have a beautiful depiction of happiness and harmony. We are told that through keeping Divine law there will be wholesome blessings, resulting in material plenty, peace, security and a tangible sense of holiness.