Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Re’eh: Seeing God’s love

The purpose of the three major Jewish festivals (Pesach, Shavuot and Succot) is to see the Creator to whom we bring our offerings in the Temple of Jerusalem.

We have said in our commentaries on Vayikra (the book of Leviticus) that the offerings are the ways to elevate our main human traits and qualities in order to devote them to His service. Only throughout this divine service we achieve our unity with God.

The name of this portion, as well as its first word, reminds us that by choosing His blessing we indeed see Him.

“See (re’eh), I set before you today a blessing and a curse.” (Deuteronomy 11:26)

The following verses make clear that we are blessed by cleaving to His ways and attributes, and the curse is the consequence of attaching to the idols we make out of ego’s fantasies and illusions. The commandment to destroy such idols is unambiguous.

“You shall utterly destroy from all the places where the nations, that you shall possess, worshiped their gods, upon the lofty mountains and upon the hills, and under every lush tree.” (12:2)

We have to make our individual inventory of the material illusions in which we live, and to which we dedicate every aspect of our consciousness. These aspects are the “places” that encompass our higher awareness (“the top of the mountains and hills”) and our lower traits (the underground) where we have to examine what compels us to think, speak and act the way we do.

The goal of this inventory is to transform and redirect our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions, and instincts into love’s ways.

“And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their woods with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place.” (12:3)

This transformation occurs when we refine the ways we approach life in the material world through the blessings of God’s love.

“And there you shall eat before the Lord, your God, and you shall rejoice in all your endeavors you and your households, as the Lord, your God, has blessed you. (…) and He will give you rest from all your enemies surrounding you, and you will dwell in safety.” (12:7, 10)

As we said above, the ways to see the Creator and dwell in His ways are our willingness to assume love as our true identity, and to live in His attributes.

“And you shall eat them before the Lord, your God, in the place the Lord, your God, will choose you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, and the Levite who is in your cities, and you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God, in all your endeavors.”(12:18)

We have to implement and incorporate (“to eat”) the best of who we are in the presence of love (“the place” of God’s loving kindness) all aspects of consciousness (us and our creations [oneself, sons, daughters], our motivations [servants] to deeds and actions, and our highest awareness of divine love [the Levite priesthood]) in order to exult with love in all we are, have and do.

This is the blessing, our blessing.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord, your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a treasured people for Him, out of all the nations that are upon the earth.” (14:2)

The portion ends reminding us again to see the Creator in our festivals.

“Three times in the year, every one of your males shall appear (lit. shall see) before the Lord, your God, in the place He will choose: on the festival of matzot and on the festival of weeks, and on the festival of succot, and he shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” (16:16)

We come to see Him and be united to Him with our love that is also His love, the essence with which He created us. We see Him when we elevate all dimensions of consciousness with, in and for His love because God’s love is what is revealed in His creation, and is what we have to reveal from its concealment under the darkness of the negative aspects and expressions of our consciousness.

Let’s keep in mind that the portion, the lot that He has given us individually is measured and limited by our own awareness of His Love, and this lot is also our relationship with Him.

Let’s not be mistaken thinking that He gives more to some and less to others, because the love we have is directly proportional to the love we want to have in our life. Thus we understand this coming verse.

“[Every] man [shall bring] as much as he can afford, according to the blessing of the Lord, your God, which He has given you.” (16:17)

In the haftarah for this portion, the prophet invites us again to fulfill the commandment to cleave to the Creator.

“Hearken to Me and eat what is good, and your soul shall delight in fatness. Incline your ear and come to Me, hearken and your soul shall live, and I will make for you an everlasting covenant, the trusted loving kindness David. Incline your ear and come to Me, hearken and your soul shall live, and I will make for you an everlasting covenant, the trusted loving kindness of David.” (Isaiah 55:2-4)

King David represents the loving kindness of the Messianic consciousness God’s love offers us to redeem ourselves individually and collectively from the negative situations we have created by living in ego’s materialistic illusions.

Once we realize this we become aware that all depends on the blessings of love ever since we are born until we die. This awareness is the beginning of our way out from the darkness of exile into our way to redemption.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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