Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Re'eh - 5773

My friends,

There is a turning point in this week's Parasha in Moses' discourse to the children of Israel before his death. In the first three portions of Devarim, Moses urges the people to believe in G-d and show reverence to G-d. This Parasha - Re'eh - is what you would call in Hebrew Tachlit or Tachlis in Yiddish, meaning, 'OK - how do you show reverence to G-d?' It begins with the words, "See, this day I set before you blessing and curse." Blessing if you obey the commandments, the curse if you disobey. The choice is yours. The Parasha goes on to list 55 Mitzvot - 17 do's and 38 don'ts.

There is a beautiful verse in this Parasha that we should learn by heart and use in our relations with our family and with all people. "Banim atem Ladonay Eloheichem". Moses tells the children of Israel, "You are the children of G-d." Imagine what it implies to always think of oneself and of others as G-d's children. It gives us a tremendous boost in self-esteem and in our obligations to help others.

In Chapter 15, verses 7-11, we find the basic Mitzvah of Tzedaka - we are urged to never hold back from helping someone in need; on the contrary "patoach tiftach" - open your hands and help as much as possible. We are very fortunate to live in a country that is number one in philanthropy and in the way the American people volunteer for so many causes. As Jews we have always understood the role of Tzedaka in our lives. It is found in this week's Parasha and it is all part of being "G-d's Children."

Always remember: "Banim Atem Ladonay Eloheichem'" - "You are G-d's children." Take good care of yourself and of those around you.

Shabbat Shalom,