• August 28th, 2022
  • Elul 1st, 5782


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Torah Contributor

Blessings and Curses

The parsha continues with Moses' 2nd farewell speech to the Israelites. He urges them to "See! I am giving you today a blessing and a curse."  He communicates that they should listen to the commandments and they will be blessed. Do not listen and they will be cursed. G-d did not want humanity to eat the "bread of shame" by receiving blessings without earning them, so he gave people free will.  By choosing to follow the commandments and by making positive decisions with continuity we can "earn" blessings without feeling guilty and become the best versions of ourselves. Also, a divine curse is a blessing in disguise. We need to try to see the positive opportunity in all situations, which may take time and perspective.  Negativity and evil inclination only exist so that we can restrict and reject the temptation in order to receive blessings. This parsha, Re'eh (Resh Aleph Hei), is the only parsha where the title is one of the 72 Names of God ( http://thehealinggift.com/chart ). This connects us to the miracles accessed through the names. Also, there are 126 verses in the parsha, the same numerical value of the Aramaic word Pliyah which means wonderment.

Idols and Prophets

The portion continues with Moses advising the Jewish nation to eradicate all idolatry and false prophets. It is likewise important for us to maintain belief in a singular G-d or the Light and not be led astray by the limited and physical objects in society. Today's idols and false prophets include money, social media, fame and celebrity. It is fine to have those things, but not to worship or chase after them.  Everything comes from G-d for our ultimate benefit, so it is futile to look to other idols and gods for lasting fulfillment.

Energy of Kosher

The parsha discusses in detail the laws of prohibited foods and sets forth which animals, fish, birds and insects can be eaten. It also describes the prohibition against cooking an animal in its mother's milk, the basis for not mixing milk and meat.  A Kabbalstic interpretation of this law describes the underlying spiritual reason as the separation of two distinct energies – the mixing of which creates a negative effect. Meat is red in color and represents the Divine energy of Gevurah – severity and judgment. It is similarly representative of death and end. Meat turns rancid if left out over time and is available as food only when an animal has been killed. Milk on the other hand is white in color and represents the Divine energy of Chesed – sharing and mercy. Milk is conversely taken from an animal that is alive. The milk also has continuity, the ability to be turned into other products (yogurt and cheese) over time.  By not mixing these opposing energies we are able to have greater balance from the foods we eat.

Tithing and Riches

Moses continues in the parsha with directions and laws pertaining to tithing. It important to understand how giving away one tenth of our crops, money or time helps to create a flow of energy and allows us to remove potentially negative aspects from our lives. Giving a tithe or other amounts with the proper consciousness of sharing, without ego or personal agenda, provides blessings and protection to the giver. Giving creates continuity and allows you to act like a conduit, able to receive more as you give more.  The Hebrew word for tithe, Ta'aseir, is similar to the word for becoming rich, Titasheir. When we resolve to give beyond our means, G-d grants us the wealth required to fulfill our charitable pledge.

Connecting to the Festivals

Moses shares details around the three biblical festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, each of which occur during a cosmic window in the Hebrew calendar. By reading about the holiday details in the parsha, we can connect the to energy of the festivals this week.  The happiness and joy from each of these festivals is to be felt and enjoyed year round. Moses says [r]ejoice on your festival - you, your son, your daughter..." By specifically saying "you", we are directed to internalize each of these holidays and attempt to make it a personal celebration in addition to a larger community event.

Have a great week!