Re’eh is one of those parshiot that commands us to open our eyes. We can be so overwhelmed with keeping up (remember that rabbit I mentioned last week?) that we can often not see the miracles around us. We can also miss those opportunities in front of us where we can step up and step in.
What am I not seeing, not understanding this week, this month? How can I better see where I can step forward, in or around to make things a little better for myself and for others I love?
This week just after Shabbat ended Major General Andrew Christie died. Andy was a regular at our Wednesday Torah learning group. We will miss him dearly. On Sunday Sean Decter and Erin Henry stood under the chuppah and with great delight were married amidst family and friends. Beginnings amidst endings.
On Shabbat I picked up a volume of A Beggar in Jerusalem, one of Elie Wiesels’ haunting elegies to lifetimes destroyed. I haven’t read it for years. We meet Shlomo:
“Shlomo, an old Hasid, exclaimed one day in despair: ‘What have I gained by becoming blind, since I continue to see myself?’ Poor man! He wouldn’t have gained anything had he stopped seeing himself. The game is rigged; there is nothing to gain. And nothing to lose, which makes it worse. To defeat death, to defeat it by accident, against one’s wishes, is neither victory not blessing. Ask me, I know.
“Once, in the Orient, I talked with a sage whose clear and gentle eyes seemed forever to be gazing at a never-ending sunset. ‘Dying is no solution,’ he affirmed. ‘And living?’ I asked. ‘Nor living either.’ He concluded. ‘But who tells you there is a solution?’ … Only the questions matter.”
In our comings and goings, our living and our dying, we all have our questions. Meanwhile, Re’eh. See.
With love,Rabbi Lynn