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In Parshes Ki Savo Perak 27 Pasik 24 Rashisays

מכה רעהו בסתר. עַל לָשׁוֹן הָרָע הוּא אוֹמֵר; רָאִיתִי בִיסוֹדוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי מֹשֶׁה הַדַּרְשָׁן — י"א אֲרוּרִים יֵשׁ כָּאן כְּנֶגֶד י"א שְׁבָטִים, וּכְנֶגֶד שִׁמְעוֹן לֹא כָתַב אָרוּר, לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְלִבּוֹ לְבָרְכוֹ לִפְנֵי מוֹתוֹ כְּשֶׁבֵּרֵךְ שְׁאָר הַשְּׁבָטִים, לְכָךְ לֹא רָצָה לְקַלְּלוֹ: מכה רעהו בסתר [CURSED BE] HE THAT SMITETH HIS FELLOW SECRETLY — It is of slander that it here speaks (slander may be termed “smiting in secret”) (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 53). — I have seen in the Work of R. Moses the Preacher; There are here eleven verses beginning with the words “cursed be” corresponding to eleven tribes. In allusion to Simeon, however, he (Moses) did not write down a formula beginning with “cursed be”, because he had no intention to bless him before his death when he blessed the other tribes (the tribe of Simeon is the only one not mentioned in chapter XXXIII. which contains the blessings that Moses bestowed on the tribes), therefore he did not want to curse him either.

Which of the 11 curses correspond to which shevet? I looked at the meforshim on Rashi and no one has a complete list

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I saw a lengthy article by R. Yaakov Moshe Shurkin that delves into the issue a bit and brings a lot of sources re: Mayseh Reuven and "ארור שוכב עם אשת אביו".

Among the sources brought down, I noticed that the Pnei Yehoshua in the gemara in Shabbos 55b actually assigns each specific Arur to a specific shevet (except for Shimon in accordance with the aforementioned statement of Rabbi Moshe HaDarshan brought by Rashi) in the order that the shevatim are mentioned. This would bring Reuven (as the seventh shevet mentioned) in line with the sixth Arur mentioned of "ארור שוכב עם אשת אביו".

So according to the Pnei Yehoshua, the first Arur, "ארור האיש אשר יעשה פסל", would refer to Levi. Then as we continue all the way to the final shevet mentioned we arrive at "ארור לקח שחד", which would refer to Naftali.

The final Arur "ארור אשר לא יקים" would seem to be more of a general category and not apply to a single specific shevet.

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  • thanks for the post. Where in the article does it discuss this issue? And the Pnei Yehoshua he just mentchens it. I want to see a coalition between the curses and the shevatim.
    – Efraym
    Sep 23 at 2:19
  • Sorry if I was unclear - my main focus is on the Pnei Yehoshua. The article by R. Shurkin tends more to focus on the correlation of shevet Reuven to ארור שוכב עם אשת אביו - I wanted to give credit for that article since that's where I first saw the Pnei Yehoshua. The Pnei Yehoshua makes an assumption that the order of the klalos corresponds to the order of the shevatim in the pesukim but doesn't give details of how each shevert correlates to each curse except for the example of Reuven. If one goes through each example one can find some other possibilities - see my following comment
    – EraserX
    Sep 23 at 13:11
  • my own thoughts here:
    – EraserX
    Sep 23 at 13:11
  • my own thoughts, guesses here as to some loose correlations if the klalos go in shevet-order: Levi - pesel Michah? ; Yosef - compare משגה עור בדך to early part of mechiras Yosef? ; Binyamin - was a yasom?
    – EraserX
    Sep 23 at 13:21

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