In the Torah portion of Lech Lecha, God tells Abram to leave his home and go to a land, which God will show him.  God promises Abram that a special land will be set aside for him and his descendants, and that Abram will be the father of a great nation.  When blessing Abram, God states: “And I will bless those that bless you, and those that curse you I will curse!”

The two parts of this verse present a contrast.  In the first part, the predicate is followed by the object, whereas in the second part the object precedes the predicate. The commentator, the Kli Yakar, noting this contrast, offers an illuminating insight.  Good intentions, though not yet carried out, are rewarded by God as accomplished deeds.  Evil intentions, on the other hand, are punishable only when they have been put into effect.

Therefore, the Torah states, “I will bless them” at the beginning of the verse in order to indicate that they will be blessed from the moment they intend to bless you; even though they have not actually done so yet.  The opposite is true of “those that curse you.”  Here bad intentions do not count as deeds.  Therefore, “I will curse” follows “and those that curse you.”

This idea of rewarding for a thought and not punishing until the act takes place is a great motivator for us to not only be the best we can, but it is also a beautiful reminder for us to give others with whom we interact the same opportunity to be the best they can be as well as the benefit of the doubt.