Parshah Re'eh - Debarim/Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17
Parsha Re’eh is usually read near Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the sixth month. This sixth month is our preparation month for the Set-Apart Days of the seventh month: Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. These are VERY important days of observance. They will determine and set the tone for our entire upcoming year.
So, it stands to reason that we take time and prepare ourselves for these set-apart days. That's what the sixth month of Elul is for. It's the month of reflection and change.
Elul is the month when we are honest with ourselves and decide what we want our life to be like.
Parsha Re'eh begins with the perfect statement for this season:
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:
(27) the blessing, when you obey the commands of יהוה your Elohim which I command you today;
(28) and the curse, if you do not obey the commands of יהוה your Elohim, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other mighty ones which you have not known."
We have a choice.
YAHUAH gives us a choice, and He responds according to the choice we make.
We can choose blessings, or we can choose curses.
We can choose life, or we can choose death.
We can choose to obey YAH’s commands, or we can choose not to obey.
The choice is ours.
Not As Easy As It Looks
Blessing and life seem like the obvious choice. But that also means that we have to choose to obey YAH’s commands. That’s not always an obvious choice.
Yes, we may be committed to obeying the Torah in general, but the daily choices of obedience are where we often stumble. The choice is not always so clear.
If the choice was blatantly obvious, it wouldn’t really be a free will choice. When one thing is so much better than another - like life rather than death - then there really isn’t much choice involved. The choice is obvious: Life.
For us to have true free will, we have to be able to make a real choice. We have to be able to look at both options, weigh them, and make a real decision.
Think about it: if the choices for life and blessing were always so obvious, we would never sin, would we?
For us to have true free will, the bad is often disguised.
It goes all the way back to the Garden. Adam and Chawwah (Eve) had the same choice: life or death, blessing or curse; the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, obey or disobey.
Which did they choose? They chose curses and death.
But why? Didn't they know that was a bad choice?
The choice actually wasn’t so obvious. The fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, desirable, and able to make one wise (Ber/Gen. 3:6). The serpent deceived Chawwah, and the curses and death didn’t look so bad. In fact, the bad choice looked good!
So it is with us every day. We are tempted in all forms (especially according to our own individual weaknesses) all the time. The temptations often look good - so good that we sometimes don’t see the bad at all. "I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
And what happens? We end up choosing death. We choose it.
How many times in the past year did we not obey one of YAH’s commandments?
Was there a time when we didn't walk in His ways? When we didn't fear Him?
When we did something that we knew wasn’t right?
How many times did we choose curses instead of blessings, death instead of life?
"I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed," (Deb/Deut. 30:19)
In case Yisrael had any confusion on which choice to make, Moshe told them clearly: Choose life!
YAHUAH’s Torah is life. We choose life by choosing to obey the Torah.
We have to study it continually to know what and how to obey. Not only will we learn the specific commands, but also by reading and studying,
we’ll gain the inner sense of right and wrong to guide our day-to-day decisions.
We’ll learn YAH’s ways instead of our own ways. We'll learn to do what's right in His eyes rather than our own eyes. We'll learn what is truly good and be able to see through the disguises.
We’ll also become more spiritually aware of His Presence in our lives at all times. This will help us to turn from evil and follow Him.
Choose to make time to read and study the Torah. We all have things to do - work, get the kids ready, make dinner, mow the lawn, do laundry, etc. - but we have to choose to take the time to learn Torah.
Busyness is just the adversary’s way to keep us from learning YAH’s Torah.
The busier we are, the less we study, the less we know, and the more we will choose curses and death - just what the adversary wants.
So choose life! Choose to make time to learn Torah.
Also, "...seek the place which יהוה your Elohim chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His Name there, for His Dwelling Place, and there you shall enter." (Deb. 12:5)
Several times throughout Debarim “the place which YAHUAH chooses” is mentioned. This means that He establishes a place for His Name where His people stay connected to Him.
Seek the place where YAHUAH’s Name dwells. Connect yourself with His servants who are there. They will help you to learn more about YAHUAH and His ways. Connecting regularly with them in some way will help you to stay focused on your relationship with YAH; thus, helping you to make better choices. So, choose to seek out the place He chooses, and go there.
The Most Important Choice You’ll Ever Make
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse" (Deb/Deut. 11:26)
The choice is set before us. “See” it. Make it clear in your mind. Know it, and understand it until it becomes as real as something seen with your physical eyes.
SEE the choice you have in life.
Do you want the coming year to be one of life and blessing? Or one of curses and death?
The choice is yours.
There are 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur (when the judgment for our year is sealed). Let's use these 40 days to prepare ourselves for next year. Get ready to start the year on the right foot.
Repent of all the wrong choices of the past year, and commit to making good choices this coming year.
Commit to read, study, and learn Torah to help "see" through the disguises and make good choices every day.
Commit to seeking YAHUAH so we can receive the blessings of life and a good, long life.
May we all increase in the knowledge of YAHUAH and be strengthened in our ability to "see" and make truly good choices.