Shorashim Studies in the Torah Portion
Torah Portion of Re’eh. Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17
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The text in the Torah portion of Re’Eh begins with words that in their striking difference teaches us much of our journey in this world
In the book of Psalms we read the following
I will speak of your lovingkindness in the morning and of your faith ( Emunatcha) at night ( Psalm 92:3)
It is clear that in the light of the morning, it is easier to perceive and rejoice in Hashem’s Loving Kindness. In the darkness it is harder to see and comprehend the mercies surrounding us and we depend on faith and faithfulness.
Yet whose faith must we depend on. If we were speaking of our faith in Hashem’s protection then the text would read Emunateinu. Yet the word Emunatcha refers to Hashem’s faith or faithfulness.
The text in the Torah portion of Re’eh begins with words that in their striking difference teaches us much of our journey in this world
Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse.The blessing, that you will heed ( Asher Tishmeu) the commandments of Hashem your G-d, which I command you today;and the curse, if you will not heed ( Im lo Tishmeu) the commandments of Hashem your G-d, but turn away from the way I command you this day, to follow other G-ds, which you did not know.(Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
Hashem is saying that He is laying before us a choice that will incur blessing or G-d forbid curses. Yet in His declaration regarding the Blessings He says” THAT you will heed (Asher Tishmeu) the commandments . Yet regarding the curses He declares “IF you will not heed (Im lo Tishmeu) the commandments “
Furthermore we need to consider are these statements all about reward and punishment? Is Hashem telling His people “be good or else”. What then about free choice? What is the meaning of the statement “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse”?
Is Hashem offering a choice or a warning?
In essence we do understand that the Spiritual world has rules of reality just as the natural world. The word for Blessing Bracha derives its meaning from the Hebrew word LeHavrich ( To Re-Root) and the word for Curse comes from the Hebrew word Kalil ( empty).
So in essence Hashem is not declaring a warning regarding reward and punishment. Rather He is describing the “natural” and the necessary outcome of either being cleaved unto the Divine Will or being separated from it.
Yet ensconced in His declaration ,Hashem is also revealing another spiritual rule of existence, He is reminding us that our innermost nature, the breath of G-d within us, yearns to do what is right. Life and all of its obstacles can and do get in the way. Yet Hashem declares that He has more faith in us than we have in ourselves. He expects us to find our “way back”.
Hashem is saying this as a fact “The blessing, that you will heed ( Asher Tishmeu) the commandments of Hashem your G-d” while at the same time acknowledging the choices that can sometimes get in the way. “IF you will not heed ( Im lo Tishmeu) the commandments “.
Hashem is reminding us to look for that breath of G-d within us so that we can be freed to rediscover our spiritual balance.
The verse in Psalms;”I will speak of your lovingkindness in the morning and of your faith (Emunatcha) at night ( Psalm 92:3) is actually saying that in times of darkness we can always depend on Hashem’s faithfulness .
Yet on a deeper level it is saying that we can always depend on Hashem’s FAITH. He has more faith in us than we have in ourselves.
That message consistently stands before all of us in all the major junctions in our own lives. Therefore it is also not happenstance that we are reading these words just as we prepare to enter into the great month of Elul.
This is the month where we are enjoined by the kindness and mercy of Hashem to make new and clearer choices in our own lives and in the life of this nation as we approach the awesome days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
May we find the faith in our power to do so by contemplating the faith” that Hashem has in our ability to do so