Re’eh (See!)

Deuteronomy 11:26 I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 את־ blessing, if you obey the commandments of יהוה your Elohim, which I command אתכֶם you this day. C-MATS

Question: Do we have a choice whether we obtain a blessing or a curse? Freedom of choice has been granted to every man: if he desires to turn toward a good path and be righteous, the ability to do so is in his hands; and if he desires to turn toward an evil path and be wicked, the ability to do so is in his hands. Each individual has it in his power to affect the entire world for good or bad.

Question: Who will receive the blessings? The blessings will come to you only on the condition that you hearken to (hear) the commandments (Rashi).

“Hearing” is a metaphor for blessing, because the only way a person can attain יהוה’s blessings is if he has the ability to hear or understand what the Torah wants of him. In speaking of the world of the future, the prophet says that there will be no hunger for bread and no thirst for water, but only to hear the word of יהוה (Amos 8:11). Thus, in the future, everyone will understand the message of this verse, which is that “blessing” consists of the ability to hear what is truly essential (Sfas Emes), and to pick that out from the confusion of competing messages in the world with which people are overwhelmed.

Question: How do we know if we are overindulging? When it comes to life’s pleasures, like food and wine, a person will feel the happiest not by overindulging in them or by avoiding them – but by enjoying them in moderation.

Question: How can a person know how much is ‘moderation’? A good indicator of enjoying things (like food and wine) in moderation is that we have enough to feel good about it both while having them and after, but not so much that they make us feel sick or unhealthy afterward. Enjoyment is about using life’s pleasures wisely, in the way that’s best for our bodies and our souls – and that’s what the Torah shows us how to do.

Question: What does “living within your means” mean? Do not spend money that you do not have. Do not use credit cards to purchase items that you do not have the money to buy. יהוה will give you what you need. Use the money that He gives you and if you manage this money wisely, then He will give you more money. He is waiting to see how well you use what He gives you first before He gives you more. A wise servant stretches his money and makes the most of what he has, but never borrows from others.

Spiritual Exercise: Do not overindulge in luxuries. Do not desire what you cannot afford. Live within the boundaries that יהוה has given you and be satisfied with what you have.

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#47 Re’eh