Parasha Re’eh – What you SEE is what you GET!!

Parasha Re’eh – What you SEE is what you GET!!

“SEE, I present before you today a blessing and a curse.”

ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם היום ברכה וקללה

We are are continuing our weekly Series:

Today, we are learning, how Parasha Re’eh speaks to those who seek Recovery

Did the opening of our Parasha really need the word ראה “SEE?”  Not really.  It could have started off, “I present before you today…” It would not have changed the meaning of the rest of the verse at all.  Furthermore, why does Moshe need to paint such a Black & White picture for the Jewish People?  It seems like we have ONLY TWO choices to make. Either we DO the Will of Hashem and we will be BLESSED.  Or we DO NOT do the Will of Hashem and we will be CURSED!  Pretty simple…right??

Well, not really.  The most profound attribute of man – over ALL CREATION in the Universe, including the Higher Spheres of Angels and above is בְּחִירָה  Freedom of Choice!  Nothing, absolutely nothing… not even the animals or the plants or the oceans or the stars have any choice.  They are all doing the Will of Hashem 24/7.  But NOT MAN!

Why does G-d grant man free choice?  Chasidic sources teach us that only thru free choice can man be elevated to a higher plane of Divine service.  Were man’s choice between good and evil to come naturally, he would not have any sense of accomplishment. What would he have earned?

For this reason, man is confronted at every stage of his life with challenges which he must overcome on his own.  By Hashem’s design, evil has no substance, and as darkness is repelled by light, evil would be instantly subdued by the power of holiness. But in order to allow free choice to operate, evil is granted the power to present an obstacle to the forces of holiness. Indeed, the forces of evil are granted sufficient strength to parallel even the highest spiritual levels, for there must always be an evil and a good to choose between.

Nevertheless, these challenges have one purpose: that man face them and overcome them. The good which man manages to spread in the world is in fact his own doing. He is not merely a recipient of Divine favor; he makes a contribution of his own!

So back to our original question, why does the Parasha need to begin with the word, “SEE?”

Just think about all of your senses…hearing, smell, taste, touch and sight.  Did you notice that you can take your finger and poke your ears, your nose, your tongue, your skin and you really won’t hurt anything.  BUT, if you poke your EYES, you will feel excruciating pain!  Our EYES are absolutely the most sensitive part of our body – whether they’re being poked, being exposed to bright light, underwater, in a smokey room – I believe you get the message by now!  Our sight, our SEEING, whether it’s in our material world or in our thoughts or feelings is what really generates our REALITY.  As we said above – “What you SEE is what you get!”

Let’s consider how this Message speaks to us...

Perhaps some of you are confused by the seeming contradiction between Torah’s emphasis on man’s free will AND YET, the Program’s emphasis on our “Powerlessness!”  It’s a good question.  But upon a careful reading of the Program, our Powerlessness is ONLY OVER OUR DRUG OF CHOICE!  Bill Wilson teaches us that we addicts have unlimited choices in all areas of our life – except when our lives have become “unmanageable” we are “powerless” over our acting out (Step 1)!  And in fact, our Solution to Recover is entirely around our Free Will Choices of “Turning our Wills and our Lives over to the care of G-d” (Step 3).

And now that we have this understanding, we can now learn that the key to our Sobriety and Recovery is changing how we SEE and ACCEPT or not accept the world…”the person, the place, the thing or the situation” (from BB pg 417).  And as it says on BB pg 72, the Purpose and the Success of our Program is to “get a NEW ATTITUDE, a NEW RELATIONSHIP with Hashem and to discover the obstacle in our path.”

Chevra, let’s get very clear about this!


So let’s get back to Parasha Re’eh. And now tie the two messages together.  The first message of Re’eh is that we have Choices!  And that depending on how we make the choices how we SEE life it  will either be a Blessing or a Curse…

And the second message of Re’eh is that our Attitude towards the Stuff of Life will determine whether we have Serenity or not!

I invite each of you to consider the following LIST of the “Stuff of Life” and realize that based on how you SEE each of these items and what your ATTITUDE is will determine if YOUR LIFE is a Blessing or a Curse!  Think carefully about each of the items we must face almost everyday and I believe there is a lot of room for going either way.  But as we now understand it – the CHOICE IS UP TO YOU.


I invite you to reply to me with how you judge the items on the list.  I’ll circulate your comments.  There is a lot of debate around the items in this list!  You can send me an email.  
Or Post your comments in the box below.

Shabbat Shalom!

(ps. if you have a personal story or chiddush, you would like to share, I am looking for “guest” contributors to post.)

2 thoughts on “Parasha Re’eh – What you SEE is what you GET!!

  • I think the answer to your question is that there is almost nothing that is absolutely a blessing or a curse. It all depends on your attitude.

  • Thanks Big D for your answer – which is totally correct!
    There are many examples – especially the ones in the above list – that demonstrate this point. Just think back to a time, perhaps when you had a big blow out with your wife. And what a “cursed” time that was. But how shortly thereafter, you both made the commitment to work on your communication. And how your relationship saw many new “blessings” in your relationship you never had before!
    Just like the first word in our Parasha – Re’eh, our joy and serenity in life, or the lack of it is primarily the result of HOW WE SEE (Re’eh) LIFE!
    Blessings to you and yours,
    David Chaim

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