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The Art of Seeing

By: Rav Jason Knapel

The opening of the parsha speaks about the bracha and the klalah - the blessing and the curse that Hashem gives to the Jewish nation as a consequence to their following the path of Hashem or deviating from it. This bracha and klalah is an essential part of the building of the nation – we can see throughout the Neviim that when Bnei Yisrael followed the word of Hashem they were blessed with peace, wealth, etc… but when they did not follow Hashem there was national disaster, which eventually lead to the destruction of the Jewish Yishuv in Israel. Therefore, before Moshe hands over the leadership to the next generation he reiterates these brachot and klalot and Yehoshua, when he enters the land, explains them again to the people.

Moshe, in explaining the brachot and klalot starts with the word Re’eh; See that I am giving you, the Brachot and the klalot - not the word Hinei; and now or here I am giving you, which would be the more standard introduction into this significant portion of the Torah. So why use this word Re’eh – especially for something that did not have any visual component?   

Based on many things that I have taught the past few years I believe that Re’eh – to see, does not refer to physical seeing – but rather to one of the most important components of life - having vision. Helen Keller was once asked if there is anything worse than being blind. She replied – yes, to have sight but no vision!  

Re’eh – see, see what, understand, internalize, integrate into your essence, look to the future, plan out your destiny – See that there are two paths before you as you build yourselves as individuals and as a national entity. See and understand that both paths are open before you but both have consequences – do not be blinded by immediate concerns but see how your decisions today will affect your future – not only in terms of a physical punishment – an onesh, but in terms of your actions leading you to a life of bracha – a life that is blessed, that is meaningful, that will lead to a greater destiny of serving Hashem and bringing the world to a more blessed place. See if your actions creating more klalah in the world – are they bringing more darkness for you and for those around you.           

Re’eh – think, plan and look into the depth of the world - your inner one and the outer one and see how you can fit into the world of bracha – this does not mean in a simple sense – a life of easiness, a life of pleasantness and wealth with only good things – that is not always a bracha – but a true life of  bracha – depth, meaning, connection to Hashem, doing something in the world that matters……         

We all need to be “Ro’im” We all need to be visionaries for our own lives and for the nation of Israel – thank G-d most of our nation are people who see – but we need to raise a generation of people who not only see but also have vision.          

May Hashem grant us the brachot in this week’s Parsha – especially the bracha of vision!           

Shabbat Shalom





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