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This week’s Torah portion is Re’eh. The first word of the Torah portion is Re’eh, meaning “see.” In the standard Torah, Re’eh is a long portion, six columns; the longest portion in Deuteronomy. The word “re’eh” is followed by 1931 words. It’s paradoxical: Moses starts the discourse by, “see;” that was nothing to see.
In modern times, Moses’ speech would be on television, or a movie. In modern times, Moses’ speech would be in Power Point, or would be scrolled to computer screens (or possibly your phone).
Moses started his discourse with, “see,” because he wanted the Children of Israel to envision their future. He painted a picture of words of stark choices: Israel will follow God’s commandments and will be blessed and victorious, or Israel will not follow God’s commandments and will be cursed and perish.
In three weeks, in Parasha Ki Tavo, Moses commanded the Levites to shout blessings and curses as the Children of Israel listened from on top of Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval (Deut. 27:11-26) to realize the words that Moses said at the beginning at this portion. These were words, but the people could “see” the Levites shout the curses and the people could “see” the people respond, “Amen.”