Parashat Re’eh (Sorry this is late)

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The Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC.

Friday night Baruch taught at our friend Oleg’s congregation in Ashdod.  The people are always receptive and Baruch enjoys sharing the Word with them.

Here is a commentary by Baruch on Parashat Re’eh. I know that this is posted late, but I think it still has some good information and is timely:

Things are much easier to accomplish when one plans well in advance to do them. As we move closer to the end of the Hebrew month of Av, the month of Elul is very near. Elul is traditionally a month which prepares us for the Holy month of Tishre, in which the festivals of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Succot are found. In this week’s Torah reading, one reads the verse,

And you shall be glad on your festival, you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maidservant, the Levite, the one who dwells in (your land), the orphan, and widow, (all) who are in your gates.” Deuteronomy 16:14

This verse is actually a commandment which informs us that the Festival of Succot (Feast of Tabernacle), which is a time of gladness and joy, should not be celebrated alone or even as a family. The passage dealing with Succot actually begins in the previous verse (verse 13) and commands that during this seven day period that one includes not just his family, but others in his celebration. It is most significant that the list of people which is mentioned in verse 14 contains one’s servants (like employees today), spiritual leader, the non-Jew, orphans and widows. These are probably people that we do not usually invite to family celebrations. In fact, those mentioned at the end of verse 14 were usually poor and often exploited by society.

The Feast of Tabernacle is still far enough away that you have plenty of time to think and plan how you are going to observe this holiday and pray about inviting those who meet the qualifications that verse 14 reveals. Inviting people well in advance is a compliment and shows that you truly want them to attend, rather than an afterthought. In blessing some of the less fortunate people, HaShem promises to not only bless you but verse 15 states that “you will be completely joyous.” This is how a few of the translations render the Hebrew. The phrase is והיית אך שמח.” These words mean literally, “And you will be ONLY glad.” I like that promise from the L-rd, that I will only experience gladness. This means either one of two things. Either everything in my life will become a source of joy or my joy will be so great that it overshadows anything and everything else in my life. Either way, I won’t complain.

Do not ignore this promise of G-d; begin your plans for Succot today!

 

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