13 August 2015
This week’s parasha is Re’eh, (“see”) and begins, “See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: blessing, if you obey the commandments of Adonai your God that I enjoin upon you this day; and curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Adonai your God but turn away from the path that I enjoin upon you this day and follow other gods, whom you have not experienced.”
We are asked to see something that is not really there. Or is it? The verb “see” in the beginning of the portion draws our attention to the powerful distinction between blessings and curses and our ability to choose between them. We are confronted with these choices daily, if not hourly. So while we may not be able to see our future, we actually create our own personal futures – according to the text – by either obeying God’s commandments or not.
But it’s clearly not that simple. Earlier this week, I attended an extraordinarily sad funeral of a young woman killed suddenly and tragically in an auto accident. She left behind a loving husband, three beautiful young children, devastated parents and siblings, unfulfilled dreams and a future. Over 1,000 people came to the funeral; a testament to her remarkable ability to touch and impact many lives. But, as we all know, our futures are not guaranteed and life is fragile indeed. We cannot possibly equate our behavior with longevity; only the impact we have on others.
The analogy holds: when we hike along a trail or up a mountain, we cannot see beyond the next bend. The path referred to in this opening text continues well into the future, and has twists and turns beyond our current field of vision. The care with which we take each step ensures that others will continue to walk with us and may even help determine the success of our future travels.
Ways to Make It Yours
Follow the adventures of our August DC Community Birthright Israel trip from August 10-21.
Join local families with young children for ice cream, crafts and storytime at PJ Library®’s Sweet Summer Series through DC, MD and VA this month.
Enjoy a day of free film screenings in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII with the Washington Jewish Film Festival on Sunday, August 16.
Buy your baseball game ticket for a fun-filled day at National’s Park with the Greater Washington Jewish Community on Sunday, August 30.