Re’eh: Look Out

Watch Your Step

“See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today; and curse, if you do not obey the commandments…” (Deut. 11:26-28). 

Torah portion Re-eh is named for its first word, translated variously as SEE, LOOK, or OBSERVE. “Re-eh” prefaces a monumental concept: we each possess the power to bring down good or evil upon ourselves. Why is this weighty topic introduced by a little word that seems superfluous? How does the word “Re-eh” prepare us for what follows?

God wants us to stay on the proper path in our journey through life. He exhorts us to follow his laws strictly, not deviating to the right or to the left. (Deut. 17:11.) This task can seem daunting, but as with any worthwhile goal, we cannot succeed if we try to tackle every part at once. A flight of stairs can’t be scaled in one jump. Rather, our journey through life should be taken step by step. And we can’t know where to step if we don’t take a moment to first LOOK where we are going. “Re’eh” tells us that on the road of life, we must always WATCH for hazards, SCRUTINIZE the path ahead, NOTICE our blessings and SEE ways to serve God. Living a holy life starts with paying attention!

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