See for Yourself! Parshat Re'eh
This week’s Torah portion begins with the words: “Re’eh anokhi notein lifneikhem hayom brakha uklalah… See- I place before you today blessing and curse.” Today, now, in this moment, blessing and curse are both potentials. What is it that determines our choice? It goes on to to say, “et habrakhah asher tishma’u el mitzvot- the blessing, that you listen to the commandment… and the curse if you don’t listen…”.
Right in these first two sentences, two bodily senses are referenced- seeing and hearing. The senses are metaphors for an inner process; we “see” something is the case, meaning that we are aware of the situation. We “hear” what someone is saying, meaning that we understand the intention behind the words. In the case of these two verses, “seeing” and “hearing” refer to two levels of how to relate with this moment, with “today”.
First, we have to acknowlege the tremendous potential: this moment is pregnant with the potential for both blessing and curse. Without this basic awareness, there can be no conscious living. We are merely victims of our automatic perceptions and reactions. We are powerless. But it says, Re’eh- see for yourself! You and only you have the power to be the universe’ next move! You and only you have the power to actualize the potential of this moment. The power is in your hands.
So how to you actualize it? The blessing is if you “listen”. Listening means becoming inwardly still. It means making a space to notice how you are called to serve in this moment. What are you listening for? The “commandment”. What is the commanment? The “commandment” itself has two levels. On one hand, it is everything that is happening in this moment; reality, as it is, is the Divine voice as it speaks to you now. You first must be aware with openness and acceptance of what is, before you can respond. The second meaning of “commandment” is the Divine call as it is calling upon you. What is G-d asking of you in this moment? How do you become a channel of blessing? Only you can answer that question, but you don’t answer it by inventing it. You answer by opening to it. You answer with your uniqueness, yet your uniqueness is given to you; it is a gift.
May all beings awaken to the Divine potential of this and all moments, to give birth to heaven on earth, speedily in our day.
Because I gave no attention to the Space within which the world unfolds,
But rather sought to impose my control upon the world’s unfolding;
Because rather than gratitude for what I had,
Complaining about what I didn’t have;
Because I closed my fist around what I had,
Rather than opening my hand to those who did not have;
For all this I imagine that this curse now upon me is punishment;
I imagine that G-d strikes at me in anger, that I am guilty.
But the Kadosh Barukh Hu does not punish, does not reward.
The Kadosh is the Empty Space from which renewal springs;
It is Its Own reward; to ignore It is Its own punishment.
Hashiveinu HaShem Eilekha, V’nashuvah!
There is Only One- rejoicing and suffering, loving and hating,
Unfolding as this world, messy and beautiful.
Please: Unfold as us embracing you,
Knowing you as the Space of this moment unfolding.
Hadeish yameinu k’kedem~
Infuse our days with the spirit of renewal-
The sunlight glistening on a drop of dew clinging to a leaf~
Just as the days when we were children before we knew trouble,
Just as the days before we developed the idea of “us” and “them”.