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Parashat Re'eh - 5776

Dear friends,

Re'eh is the fourth portion in Deuteronomy. It continues the charge given by Moses to his people just before they enter the Promised Land. It begins with these words:

"See, I set before you blessing and curse: blessing if you obey G-d's commandments, and curse if you do not obey G-d's commandments." (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

In this Parasha Moses reminds them of many laws covering a wide range of topics. There are fifty-five Mitzvot in this Parasha - that is way above the average, since there are only 613 Mitzvot in the entire Torah divided between 54 portions. In this Parasha, there are seventeen "asseh" (dos) and 38 "Lo Ta-asseh" (don'ts). They can be divided into several categories, including:

There is much to write about this Parasha. I suggest you select the passage and topic you like best.

Let me share with you a brief Hassidic teaching on the first verse in this Parasha. "Re-eh, Anochi Noten Lifneichem Hayom, Beracha Uklala" - "See, I set (the Hebrew says "I give") before you today, blessing and curse." This verse incorporates many things that we ought to appreciate.

The first word is: 'RE-EH' - 'SEE'. We should be grateful to G-d for having reached a level of understanding that we can discern what is right and what is wrong.

The second word is: 'ANOCHI' - 'I'. The word used here for 'I', 'ANOCHI', is the first word in the Ten Commandments. That gift comes to us from G-d Almighty.

The third word: 'NOTEN' - 'GIVE'. We should always remember that our ability is a gift from G-d. G-d is the Giver. When G-d gives, it is given with a full heart.

The fourth word is: 'LIFNEICHEM' - 'BEFORE YOU'. It is a gift that is given directly to each individual. It is a personal gift, tailored to the receiver.

The fifth word is: 'HAYOM' - 'TODAY'. That gift is renewed day after day, continually throughout our life.

Finally. the last two words: 'BERACHA UKLALAH' - 'BLESSING AND CURSE'. When a person reaches that level of discernment and appreciation, he/she will certainly choose the way of blessing and not the curse.

I believe that the lesson for us is to emulate G-d in our giving to those in need with a full heart. There is no limit in doing such Mitzvot - it's 'HAYOM' - 'TODAY'. Yesterday does not count. Every day is a new day with new needs and new demands that require our involvement and actions.

It seems that the way to pursue a life of blessing is by sharing our blessings.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram