Friday, August 29, 2008

Re'eh - Pre Shabbat Post

I am with friends for Shabbos. It's special because they have three wonderful children. And as far as I know - I set them up. Thank G-d for Shabbos, for family, for friends, for blessings that rain upon us, for listening and there it is, for being shining stars and aligned grains of sand.

Shabbat Shalom

1. Great plural blessing
rains on individuals
as each of us needs

Rabbi Dovid Feinstein addresses the question of why G-d says to see in singular (re'eh) that a blessing is put before you, in plural (lifneichem). His answer is that while blessings are sent to everyone, they reach every individual in the exact way that he or she needs.

2. What is the blessing?
the blessing is if you listen
that is the blessing

Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch notes that the Torah states that you will see a blessing if you listen to G-d, but then the blessing is not stated. He explains that listening is the blessing itself, i.e. that besides any other rewards observing a Torah lifestyle is its own blessing.

3. Like sand and like stars
we are each a whole and part
to shine and align

Rabbi Josh Hoffman explains that the plural is used in addition to the singular to stress that each individual must balance their own needs with their responsibility as part of the greater whole. After individual needs are met a person must apply their own gifts on a national level. This fits with why Avraham was told that his descendants would be like the sand and the stars. Every star shines alone, but every grain of sand blends in with the others, thus representing the individual and communal aspects of Jewish life.

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