Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 11-16
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
The opening word of this Torah portion is Re’eh or See or Behold. The first word Moshe utters in his speech to the people is See, signifying that was is to follow is important. Pay attention! It is imperative that they not only see or listen but grasp the importance of what he is about to say. The inhabitants of the land are about to be displaced, defeated by Israel. Why? Because they are sinful, idol worshippers and they must be removed from the Land. It is like G-d is saying see what is about to happen to these nations because they have been living under the curse. They are an example for the people of Israel and for us of how not to live.
Before we go on, let me show you a difference in the Hebrew and English text in Deut. 11:27-28. In English it reads, “The blessing if you obey the commandments of the L-rd your G-d which I command you today, and the curse if you do not obey.” It should read, “The blessing of hearing… the curse if you do not hear.” Hearing and doing leads to the blessing, there is no “if” when it comes to obedience. The “if” only arises when we choose not to hear and do. Then the curse follows. Again, the pronoun used here is the plural “you.” Moshe is talking to Israel as a community. In many ways He talks to us as a community. We are, as the body of Messiah, dependant on each other, to encourage and help each other along the way. Hebrews 3:13 Here, in our Torah portion we read of the commandments of G-d concerning bringing offerings to Jerusalem. One of the outcomes of these offerings brought to Jerusalem was the strengthening of the community. It was to encourage everyone to feel connected to one another. They had a common goal. Everyone was provided for. I would hope and believe that for us. The things we do as a group, especially our holiday times, would do the same for us. G-d’s purpose for us is that, as we are part of the body, we are able to share what we know and have with those around us who might not be exactly where we are. We would not harden our heart, not recoil our hand. (D’Varim 15:7)
What does it mean to harden our heart? A good example was Pharaoh. We read that during the plagues he hardened his heart over and over. How did he do this? He was unfeeling and immune to what was going on around him. He was not moved by the suffering of his own people. He was not impacted by what he heard and saw until it touched him directly. What can we learn in order to not harden our hearts? We must guard against allowing ourselves to become cold and unsympathetic to the plight of those around us. If we can convince ourselves that the people we see who are hurting, hungry and sick are in that condition because they somehow deserve it, or unlike us, they just haven’t tried hard enough, then we can feel ok about just going on our way, hardening our hearts to their condition. As believers this is not an option. Yeshua calls us to “See” and do for those without being concerned how or why they got to where they are.
The second part of our verse says, “do not recoil your hand.” What does this mean? It means, do something. It may mean help with money like you do with this monthly offering we send to Christine in Israel. It can also mean to put out your hand to share an encouraging word. We can all do something. Someone might need help in their walk with the Father. You might be the one with the answer. We should all be involved in bringing light to the darkness and love to those who need it. Going back to the first word of this section, “See” and do, for this the Father has brought each of us to such a time as this. Do not let opportunity slip away.