Saturday 15TH August 2020 25th Av 5780
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17; Isaiah 54:11-55:5; John 6: 35-51
Our parasha this Shabbat is called ‘Re’eh’ – ‘see’. The next three Torah portions - Re'eh, Shoftim, and Ki Taitzei - contain the bulk of the commandments found in Deuteronomy.
See (Re’eh), I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. (D'varim/Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
The welfare of ancient Israel was intimately tied to their adherence to the covenant established by God through Moses. Faithful adherence would result in blessing, the Torah term for possessing the potential for life, reproductive life. They would have large, healthy and thriving families over multiple generations; their animals would abundantly reproduce; and they would live in safety and security. Conversely, the consequences for disregarding Torah were curses, the removal of life, including illness, desolation, fear, and being overcome by their enemies resulting in eventual exile.
God never intended obedience and disobedience to be understood in absolute terms as if the tiniest infraction would be deemed as breaking covenant and thus inviting disaster. The God of Torah is merciful and patient, ready and willing to forgive when wrongdoers humble themselves. The grave disobedience that results in cursing is defined as "to go after other gods that you have not known" (D'varim/Deuteronomy 11:28).