When Yaakov Avinu said to Shimon and Levi, ארור אפם, was Yaakov cursing them?
When Yaakov Avinu said to his sons, ארור אפם, accursed is their anger, he wasn't cursing them. Yaakov didn't curse his sons; he was blessing them. How do I know? Because at the end of the Parsha it says, after he got through, this is how he blessed them, איש אשר כברכתו ברך אתם, he blessed each one with his brocho. Was that a brocho when he said ארור אפם, accursed is their anger? The answer is, he didn't curse, he blessed them. And the blessing was that from now on, instead of being together in one place where they can make trouble with their anger, so אחלקם ביעקב ואפיצם בישראל, I'll disperse them.
They shouldn't have any lands in which to settle together, because since they are hot tempered it wouldn't be good for them, and it wouldn't be good for the Jewish people. Therefore it's better to disperse them and they should be scattered. So the Leviim lived together with the Kohanim in all the cities of the Leviim; scattered everywhere. They didn't have one place where they can be together, because once hotheads get together, who knows what trouble they can make!
Was that a curse, was that a punishment? It's a blessing for them. So the reason that they did not have any share in the land was that they should have to ask the people for ma'aser.
Now if you need help from people to support you with ma'aser, you have to behave. If you have your own farms, you're independent; you could be an angry fellow and a trouble maker too, especially when you get together in one corner of the land, all the Leviim together. But now that you are dispersed, and every Levi is waiting for the other people to give him ma'aser, a tenth of his produce, you have to behave, and be polite to everybody. You can't be angry. If you are angry, no parnosa.
Now was that a curse?
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210