In enumerating the "curses" that would occur if we do not perform mitzvoth, Devarim 28:61 says:

"גַּם כָּל־חֳלִי וְכָל־מַכָּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא כָתוּב בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת יַעְלֵם ה' עָלֶיךָ עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ׃

Moreover, the LORD will bring upon you all the other diseases and plagues that are not mentioned in this book of Teaching, until you are wiped out.

  • Has any commentary or other source mentioned what this / these are? There are numerous illnesses that the Torah doesn't mention - smallpox, polio, pneumonia etc. It could be any of these or others. If one had one of these, is it a fulfillment of this verse?

  • The Torah mentions all kinds of other illnesses - 3 of them, alone, are mentioned in Devarim 28:20. Moreso, in verse 20, it says, "until they destroy you." - It seems that means death. Even if not, if you've already been destroyed, physically, what would these additional "non-written" illnesses do?

  • Why did the Torah opt not to mention these illnesses? What's unique about them?

  • 3
    Do you expect the Torah to list every single illness known to man (and not known to man)?
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 16:30
  • @ezra That's an interesting rebuttal to just my 3rd question. Of course, perhaps, the Torah might have mentioned a "category" or "description". It doesn't eliminate the question, of course as to why the Torah would mention this phrase to begin with. E.g., it could have used a "shorter" term such as "other illnesses". Apparently, there may be something important that it specifies that such illnesses are not mentioned in the Torah to emphasize some important point, here.
    – DanF
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 18:15
  • This seems interesting. Are there other things that Torah refers to them as "לא כתוב בספר התורה הזאת"? I don't recall.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 19:29
  • You translated it as illnesses only, but I see a trend of interpreting the word מכה more than חלי (as probably they didn't know much illnesses types and names) and referring to all possible "bad things" either natural or human-made: sefaria.org.il/…
    – Al Berko
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 19:35
  • @AlBerko I think there may be that phrase in this week's parsha (Nitavim,) as well.
    – DanF
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


Mainly for the third point, כלי יקר on this pasuk says:

והנראה לומר בזה שבכל האלות המפורשות בת"כ, ובפר' כי תבא, בכולם יש מקום לאיש קשה עורף להסיר יראת ה' מנגד עיניו וליתן ברכת שלום לעצמו לבקש הצלה מה ע"י איזו תחבולה אנושית כדרך שאמר בדור המבול


תגזם לאדם לעשות לו איזו דבר ולא תפרש ענשו א"כ אינו יכול להשמר ממך כי לא ידע ממה יהיה נזהר

He goes into it a bit, but as I understand it, the basic idea is that a person could potentially believe it is possible to avoid all the specified punishments through mundane precautions (e.g. build a boat in case of another Flood, buy food in case of Famine) and thus be tempted to transgress.

This line is simply a catch-all clause that threatens unspecified punishment (and therefore something you cannot plan protect against) -- further assurance that the Jewish people will keep the laws.


  • כלי יקר on this pasuk doesn't seem to differentiate between illness and things like war/famine.

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