Parshah Re’eh with Sarah BasAvraham

“You can therefore see that I am placing before you this day a blessing and a curse.”

Parshah summary:

Moses continues to instruct the people. They are given the choice of a blessing or a curse. Next, they are warned to eradicate any remnants of idolatry from the land. Any offering must be brought to the Chosen Place. He warns the people against false prophets who tempt them into following false gods and idolatrous ways; such people should be put to death. The remainder of the parshah details kashrus, tithes, the Sabbatical year, the laws regarding the lending of money, the Jew who is a slave, and the consecration of the firstborn. Finally, the main Yomin Tovim are reviewed: Pesach, Shavuos, and Succos. (N.b.-Rosh HaShana and Yom Yippur were not included b/c these holidays did not change from the desert to the land of Israel.-Rav. S.R. Hirsh)

Re’eh commands us to open our eyes and SEE, not with our physical eyes but with the eyes of our soul, to behold the gift of choice that we have been given. Once again HaShem is making us co-creators of our world, choosing each day again and again brachas (blessings) and klalas (curses). Just how clear our sight is depends upon what we choose to focus on. This flows into thesecond part of the parshah. What remants of idolatry do we see in our lives? What false gods? The temptations of modern idolatry are not difficult to find: materialism; greed; destruction of the environment; racial prejudice; religious intolerance; senseless acts of violence, etc. And these are but the large gods of society. Many are the lesser altars that find their way into our homes and focus our vision to the detriment of our true sight: career; money; societal approval; sexual needs; etc. These can all blind us when it comes to making choices, important choices, between brachas and klalas.

Questions:

The Talmud states that :sight is the most primary and absolute of all our senses. There was the law that “a witness cannot be a judge.” (Talmud, Rosh HaShana 27a) The prophets describe the messianic age as an age of seeing: “Your eyes will see your Master.” (Isaiah 30:20)

Q: How do YOU best learn something new? By reading? Hearing it? A combination?

(Ex: I have to READ something. I am lingistically and verbally oriented but very visually so.)

Q:Which would you find more credible:

an eyewitness who had see an act occur

an audio witness who had heard an act take place?

Why?

Moses warned the people to eradicate the remnants of idolatry and also against following false prophets.

Q:Name some of the remnants of idolatry you see in society:

Do you think that we as Jews are less likely to succumb to them?

Does your practice help you in this?

Q:What are some of your own small altars, to use my terminology? Name one thing that gets in the way of your clear vision.

Q: Name some you would consider false prophets, ancient or modern.

Should they still be put to death?

The people were told to CHOOSE a blessing or a curse.

Q: Is NOT choosing an option?

Q:Give one example of a daily choice between a bracha and a klela you have to make. Does being Jewish help you make this choice?

Finally, in using the term hayom Moses indicated that this choice was not just a one time occurrence but a happening in the here-and-now. We are constantly faced with this need to choose, and with it always comes the opportunity for teshuvah. The choice is never final until our last breath.

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