01 September 2016
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, and our futures are determined by the choices we make. So while we may not be able to see what is to come, we actually create our own personal future – according to the text – by either obeying God’s commandments or not.
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 determines the success of our future travels.