Torah Portion Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deut.) 11:26-16:17
Haftorah Reading: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:11-55:5
Tonight we read the Torah portion Re’eh or “See.” The verse, D’Varim/Deut. 11:26, calls us to pay attention because what follows is very important. Based on our discussion last week on the verb Shema or hear, we can understand this verse in the same way. The verse is calling our attention to what follows, to truly comprehend the meaning of these words.
To begin I would like to take a moment and define the Hebrew word for curse found in this verse. In Hebrew, the word translated here as curse it’s the word Khall. Another Hebrew word derived from Khall is Khal, meaning light, as in not heavy. So from this we could say a person that is cursed has no reputation or influence. For a group of people it would mean disappearing from the world stage. Think of the nations replaced by Israel when they came into the Land. To think of this in modern times we could say Britain and Spain, who at one time ruled the world, persecuted the Jewish people and now have little or no influence in the world we live in.
This curse could be broken by repentance and obedience to the L-rd. However, without that repentance our lives would count as nothing. Based on our portion today how would you define the most dominate way a person or nation would choose curses instead of blessings? When we look at the verses following, idolatry stands out as the most obvious sin that brings the curse into our lives. How does this apply to us in our modern world? Anytime we choose our own way over the Father we have effectively made the choice of putting something before Him, by definition that would be idolatry. This could be a number of things but when we make that choice it has a direct spiritual impact on our lives. We find ourselves in places we never meant to be.
So, how does putting G-d first affect us? In scripture we are told to love G-d with our everything. We are to be imitators of Him. Also in scripture we read of the qualities of the L-rd. In Shemot/Exodus 34:6 we read where G-d is compassionate, loving, long suffering, full of loving kindness and truth. We read much the same in Jeremiah 9:22-23. Yeshua quoted the Shema in Mark 12:29. He practiced the love of G-d in His life on earth each day, showing compassion and mercy. These are the qualities of the blessing mentioned in our portion and not of the curse. G-d calls us to love, to be long-suffering and when we do this, the curse will not define us. We will be living as children of the Great King.
Another important way of not choosing the curse is to avoid anger, resentment or hostility in our lives. We see the result of that choice in the lives of Cain and Able. I know each of us have probably experienced hurt and disappointment in our lives. These can be things where we were the victim of another person. These experiences present us with a choice. We can allow anger to fester and grow stronger. We can harbor hatred and unforgiveness. We can see ourselves as victims. The issue is what do we do in these places? We can choose to hate but we always have another option.
As people we have the unique quality in G-d’s creation plan of having the power to choose. Do I do this, or do I do that? Each choice has its own consequences. This is much like our Torah portion today. We can choose blessing or we can choose the curse. We can forgive the person or persons who hurt us and go on with our lives. We can choose the curse and this will also have results. Bitterness and anger will spill over into other areas of our life. My point is, we always have a choice. It is in our hands to let it go and live a blessed life. In fact even in any challenge that comes into our life such as an accident or illness we still have a choice on how to deal with it. We can choose to put it in G-d’s Hands and be at peace with it or we can crawl up into bed and withdraw from life.
Please understand I am not minimizing the pain and hurt that comes with the issues that face us in life. We sometimes hurt or feel lonely. However even in the midst of this we can choose the blessing as a way to move forward. Our choices will take us to different places, one that brings peace and one that does not.
Choose life not death.