May 23, 2024
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“Re’eh anochi nosein lifneichem hayom bracha uklalah. See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse” (Devarim 11:26). Reb Avi Backenroth, shlita, explains the Kedushas Levi’s interpretation of this verse as follows. The author takes full responsibility for any errors or omissions.

  • Re’eh: “To see” is also the language of understanding (havana), proof (rayah) and fear (yirah). Viewing Hashem’s glorious majestic creations (i.e., Judean Hills, Swiss Alps, Grand Canyon, etc.) leads one to an understanding (havana) and appreciation that Hashem alone created these worldly treasures. Alternatively, one who is unable to fathom the depths of mystery surrounding the creations of God develops Yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven). Together, these attributes form the fundamental basis of yiras Hashem and the proof (rayah) that everything emanates solely from Hashem.
  • Anochi: The gemara (Shabbos 105a) states that Reb Yochanan explained that the word Anochi is the acronym for “Ana Nafshi Kesavas Yahavis,” I (Hashem) wrote and delivered the Torah, the blueprint of the world, to the Jewish nation. Anochi, one of the attributes of Hashem, demonstrates that in addition to writing and giving over the Torah, Hashem is the master architect and builder of the world. God has the right to command, and we, klal Yisrael, have the obligation to obey His commands (mitzvos).
  • Nosein: Ki lekach tov nasati lachem, Torasi al ta’azovu, For a precious gift I have given to you, my Torah, do not forsake it. Im lo brisi yomam v’layla chukos shamayim v’aretz lo samti (Megillah 31b), were it not for klal Yisrael observing My Torah and mitzvos, the laws governing heaven and earth would have never been established. Therefore, the giving of the Torah to klal Yisrael carries great responsibilities; Torasi, My Torah, al ta’azovu, do not forsake it.
  • Lifneichem: In Parshas Nitzavim, the Kedushas Levi explains the pasuk “Atem nitzavim hayom kulchem lifnei Hashem Elokeichem” (Devarim 29:9). The word lifnei (before you) is the language of panuy, to turn, a form of direction. Similar to a father who proactively provides for his child’s needs, Hashem too provides for His princely nation all the resources we need to succeed. Hashem is merely waiting for klal Yisrael to turn toward Him for direction in order to create a personal face-to-face relationship. To actualize this mutual feeling one must exert effort. Therefore, Hashem chafetz lima’an tzidko, Hashem desires klal Yisrael to become tzadikim. Yagdil Torah v’yadir, Hashem provides each of us with a specific set of mitzvos or commands that serve to enhance our Torah personality. This “specialized training” will enable klal Yisrael to recognize our full potential and become a beacon of light unto the nations of the world.
  • Hayom: Today. Parshas Re’eh generally falls out on Shabbos mevorchim Chodesh Elul. It is no coincidence that the word hayom refers to Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps Re’eh is an acronym to Elul Rosh Hashanah. Hayom haras olam, Hayom ya’amod bamishpat, today the world was created, today (Rosh Hashanah) we stand in judgment. As we draw closer to Rosh Hashana, we are forced to recognize that we should treat every day like a Rosh Hashanah. Although reward awaits those who are shomrei Torah u’mitzvos in olam haba, as the pasuk states, hayom la’asosum, Devarim 7:11, to which Rashi adds, “ulimacher, le’olam haba, litol secharam,” today to perform mitzvos and tomorrow, in olam haba, to receive reward (Eruvin 22a), all this is secondary, says the Kedushas Levi, to the ultimate ta’anug, joy, to Hashem; the improvement of one’s Torah personality and personal character. Alternatively, each Shacharis we state: “hamechadesh b’tuvo b’chol yom tamid ma’asei bereishis,” Hashem in His goodness renews each day, consistently, the creation of the world. Meaning, every single day Hashem creates another opportunity for each of us to draw close through limud HaTorah and shemiros hamitzvos: learning Torah and adherence to His commandments.
  • Bracha: The blessing is the ability for one to recognize and seize the opportunity to enhance our tefillah (dibbur), redirect our thoughts toward divrei chazal (machshava), and to complete mitzvos (ma’aseh).
  • Uk’lalah: From the lashon of kal (light), it refers to one who makes light of potential possibilities and fails to recognize opportunities to come closer to Hashem through dibbur, ma’aseh and machshava. The manifestation of klalah, curse, occurs when one devalues or makes light of a mitzvah or fellow human being. In so doing, such an individual fails to recognize the inherent potential in performing a mitzvah, and the value-added benefit of learning from his fellow man.

To summarize, let us read this above limud, understanding, back into the pasuk: Re’eh anochi nosein lifneichem hayom bracha uklalah:

See the world (re’eh), and validate (rayah) that I (Anochi), Hashem, wrote and delivered the Torah to the Jewish nation, the blueprint of the world, a treasured gift (nosein), the Tree of Life never to be forsaken. So turn to me for direction (lifneichem), as my eyes and attention are constantly fixated on you from the beginning to the end of the year, each member of klal Yisrael, today (hayom), as in every single day, and seize the opportunity to perform mitzvos and ma’asim tovim (habracha) by recognizing that I, Hashem, have the right to command, and you, klal Yisrael, have the obligation to obey. Do not make light (klalah, from the language of kal) of such an opportunity (bracha) for it will lead to the abandonment of being included in our auspicious nation, mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh.

By Mordechai Plotsker


Mordechai Plotsker runs a popular 10-minute nightly shiur on the parsha with a keen interest on the invigorating teachings of the Berditchever Rav, the Kedushas Levi. Plotsker resides in Elizabeth with his wife and children, and can be reached by email at [email protected].

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