At the conclusion of the third book of the Five Books of Moses, the Torah lays out the blessings we’ll receive if we keep the mitzvahs:

If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.1

The Torah then continues on to administer rebuke, describing the painful and tragic exile that will occur if we abandon the Torah.

Chassidic philosophy teaches that all negativity and darkness within the world is a shell that covers and conceals the spark of good that lies at the core of the experience or phenomenon. If this is true about worldly matters, it is certainly true about every verse in the Torah. Thus, the rebuke, which literally describes terrible curses, contains a deeper hidden meaning. Beneath the surface, the curses actually contain hidden blessings, blessings so intense that the only way they can descend to this earth, unobstructed by the forces of judgement, is under the guise of a curse.

One example for this principle is the following verse:

Each man will stumble over his brother, [fleeing] as if from the sword, but without a pursuer. You will not be able to stand up against your enemies.2

Rashi addresses the words “Each man will stumble over his brother” and explains:

One person will stumble because of someone else’s sin, because all Jews are guarantors for one another.

Rashi is telling us that in addition to the simple reading—that we will stumble on our brother in the physical sense—there is a deeper meaning to the curse: we will be responsible and accountable for the sins of each other, because we are guarantors for each other.

The Hebrew word for “guarantor,” ערב (arev), has two additional meanings: “mixed” and “pleasant.” These three seemingly unrelated words, “guarantor,” “mixed” and “pleasant,” are, upon deeper analysis, deeply connected. Why is every Jew a “guarantor,” responsible for all other Jewish people? Because we are integrated—“mixed”—with each other. Just as the different parts of a body make up one organism, the wellbeing of one limb affecting all others, so, too, all Jews are specific parts of one collective soul and are integrated with each other.

The exile is horrific, but there is a hidden blessing. While living tranquilly in Israel, we didn't necessarily appreciate how interdependent and connected we are. Yet, under the tragic circumstance of the exile, we realize that we are guarantors for each other because we are part of one whole. This recognition that we are truly one is “pleasant”—it is the blessing that is contained within the curse. And it is this recognition that will ultimately serve as the spiritual healing of the exile, allowing us to experience the sweetness of the return to our homeland.3