Re’ei: Rashi: Drastic Turn
“See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the Commandments of God, your Lord, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the Commandments of God, your Lord, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know (Deuteronomy 11:26–28).”
Rashi comments: “to illustrate those who stray, the Torah cites idolatry, because one who worships an idol is considered as if he had repudiated the entire Torah, for idolatry is a rejection of God.”
I believe that Rashi is also pointing out that there is a problem in the order of the verse, because it should first mention “to follow the gods of others,” before, “You stray from the path.” Rashi is warning us that a slight turn from God can lead to worshipping other gods, and will result in the total rejection of God. There is no slight turn from God, for even the slightest turn can become so drastic that it leads to total rejection.
We can apply this teaching to the verse in the 2nd paragraph of Shema, “Beware lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and bow to them.” The punishments described in this paragraph are specifically for someone who made a turn from Torah that was so drastic that it involved a total rejection of God.
It is important to know that a turn from God will lead us to turn to the gods of others and will lead us to the point of rejection.