D'var Torah from Rabbi Mark Rantz
Shabbat abd Parashah Re'eh
From - August 7, 2021 | 29th of Av, 5781
In Parashah Re’eh (Deut. 11:26-16:17) we encounter numerous themes which we should not overlook. Of these, the two most central point’s stand out,
First, from the name of our Parashah רְאֵה (See) God through Moshe challenges the people “See רְאֵה I have set before you today a blessing and a curse a blessing if you listen to the mitzvot (commandments) of Adonai your God that I am giving you today, and a curse; if you don’t listen to the mitzvot your God but turn aside from the way I am ordering you today and follow other gods that you have not known.” (11:26-28)
Secondly, as a reminder of Parashah Terumah (Exod. 25:1-27:19) Moshe recounts how God instructed Isra’el, “… you are to come to the place where Adonai will put his name. He will choose it from all your tribes; and you will seek out that place, which is where he will live and go there …”. (12:4-5)
Finally, Adonai warns of false prophets in 13:2-4, “If a prophet or someone who gets messages while dreaming arises among you and he gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes about as he predicted when he said ‘Let’s follow other gods, which you have not known; and let us serve them, you are not to listen to what that prophet or dreamer says. For Adonai your God is testing you, in order to find out whether you really do love Adonai your God with all your heart and being.”
Of these passages, we are reminded to first obey the instructions God has given us and secondly as with the call to Temple worship - to draw near to him in faithfulness. Thirdly, Moshe warns to beware of false teachers or false prophets. Such reflects the exhortation of Rav Sha’ul (Paul) who warned, “But even if we- or, for that matter, an angel from heaven! - were to announce to you some so-called ‘Good News’ contrary to the Good News we did not announce to you, let him be under a curse forever!” (Gal. 1:8)
In all three of these passages and themes in Parashah רְאֵה Re’eh, we find two direct warnings that in every generation we must heed and take notice of. First, that there is no substitute for obeying the Lord’s commands and secondly, that we must be on guard against those who might lead us astray from the blessings of God. Yet even in the midst of these warnings we are given HOPE in Deut. 12:4-5, where every day we must come to our loving, Heavenly Father - who makes his tabernacle in us and who loves us with an everlasting love! For our good, God makes a way of life over death, and blessings instead of curses.
All of his mitzvot are always for our good, … for our healing and for our restoration. Yet, despite God’s great love - we as human beings may fight hard at having our own way or resist his goodness, yet when we run to him, we will find the healing our souls long for! Today dear friends, let’s choose blessings over curses! Let’s choose life over death! Let’s choose Yeshua our Messiah!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
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