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Re'eh (See) Deut 11-16

Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) Devarim Deut. 11:26-16:17

HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5

Tonight we read a section of Torah that speaks to many areas of our spiritual life. I pray you see it in that light. It is a guidebook on how to live each day of our walk both practically and spiritually. So let’s look at some things from these verses and see what they say to us.

 

I would like to start with the first verse of this week’s section, Deut. 11:26, “See, I give you today a blessing and a curse.” I would like us to look at this word for word. In fact one of my questions this week asked you to do that. First, “See”, maybe the most important word of the verse. Of all our physical senses, seeing is the most powerful, the most absolute. When we hear something, smell something or feel something we can form a very strong opinion of it, but there is always some reservation, some small doubt. But seeing is believing. In court there is no stronger testimony than an eye witnesses. In Isaiah 30:20 it says, “Your eyes will see your teachers.” In Luke 2:30 where Simon says, “For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Seeing is looked at as vital to our ability to grasp both the physical and spiritual world.

Torah begins this verse with “See.” Then next comes the word, “before”. G-d is putting this choice before or in front of us. We can’t avoid it. It confronts us every day. We can’t say we did not know. Know what? Blessing, what is it? Blessing, G-d’s goodness is before us. We have the choice to live our day by the grace and goodness of G-d. It is possible. It is also before us to see. Curse is also before us. It is the evil, the negative things that are the mirror opposite of the blessing. We are being given everyday the opportunity to make the choice, blessing or curse, which will we embrace. So it is to be a moral spiritual person knowing what is good and what is bad. Knowing one from the other and how to embrace the blessing and reject the curse.

So when we read John 10:10 about abundant life and Jeremiah 29:11, it is evident that G-d’s desire for us is to live each day having chose the blessing. The blessing of living our lives, our days, governed by the Spirit and leadership of G-d and not by our own base desires which will lead us to the curse. As Moses stresses here we each have this choice to make. It is our decision everyday. See the blessing which leads us to that intimate knowledge of Him who formed us and to see evil for what it is, a challenge to be overcome. Evil is something that should provoke in us a passion for the blessing, to see ourselves as one G-d loves and has a plan for, to overcome evil and replace it with good, to live a blessed life. So Moses here urges the people to choose blessing. May each of us choose that in our own life every day.

Which leads me to another point. Deut. 13:2-4 challenges us to not be led astray by a prophet or dreamer of dreams who will lead us away from G-d. Why does G-d allow people like this to appear so insightful and successful? Why does He seem to let bad people prosper? The Torah answers that G-d is testing us. Will we choose blessing or curse? If G-d made it obvious to us, warning us, there would be no test. When we face those things that seem askew it becomes more of a challenge to make the G-d centered decision. G-d tests us to measure the depth of our love. Do you love Me? Do you trust me? Now G-d already knows us so this test is not for Him but for us. It is for us to know Him more and to know ourselves. When we remain firm in our belief, despite the physical evidence that might show success lies outside of G-d, we grow closer to Him. We choose the blessing and not the curse. We don’t go looking for tests but when they come we should see them as a chance to grow closer to the Lover of our souls.