Re'eh: Summary and Haftorah

In the discipline of the Mitzvot, and in the wisdom of the Torah, we will find an anchor to secure and steady us amid the raging seas.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

Summary and Information

Moshe presents to the nation the blessing of a spiritually-oriented life, & the curse of being disconnected from Hashem. When the nation entersEretz Yisrael they must destroy all idolatrous statues, trees & places. G-d will choose 1 place for the Divine Presence to dwell. Offerings may be brought only there; not to a private altar.

He warns the nation against copying ways of the other nations. The Torah is complete & perfect, nothing may be added or subtracted from it. If a prophet" tells the people to violate the Torah, he is to be put to death, as is one who entices others to worship idols. A city of idolatry must be razed.

It is prohibited to engage in excessive mourning,such as cutting the skin or making a bald spot. The signs of kosher food & the prohibition of eating blood or cooking meat & milk are given. We are instructed to always be open-hearted, & in the 7th year any loans must be forgiven.

A Jewish bondsman is released after 6 years & sent away with generous provisions. If he refuses to leave, his ear is pierced with an awl at the door post & he remains indentured until Yovel. The Parsha ends by detailing Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The Haftora is Yeshayahu 44:11, the 3rd of the Haftarot of Consolation after Tisha B’Av. We bentsch Rosh Chodesh Elul (Tues/Wed).

The Shofar is sounded from Wednesday on & we add L'David Hashem Ori to Shacharit & Mincha/Maariv.

Steady as She Goes:

Let’s begin this Dvar Torah with a Torah Trivia: What is unique about this Sedra’s Haftora of “Aniya So’ara?”

Answer: It is (in part) used as the Haftora for not one, but two different parshiyot – Re’eh & Noach!

OK, so now we need to ask: What does Noach have to do with Re’eh?? All Haftorot relate either to the subject matter of the Torah reading that Shabbat, or the calendar events of that day or week. So what is the connection?

The first two words of the Haftora, Aniya So’ara, are directed to the “poor, stormed-tossed one.” That clearly can refer to Noach. So, too, the reference by Isaiah to a “jeweled window” can refer to the light in the Ark, which some hold was a precious gem rather than a glass window.

But what does all this have to do with Parshat Re’eh? I suggest that the prophet, in discussing Jewish life after the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash (this Haftora is part of a 7-part series which follows Tisha B’Av) is describing for us the “port in the storm” where we can take refuge from the surrounding tempest.

In the discipline of the Mitzvot, & in the wisdom of the Torah, we will find an anchor to secure & steady us amid the raging seas.

Just consider the varied topics of the Parsha: The negation of many gods; the requirement to practice Chesed & dispense Tzedaka; the building of a Sanctuary as a spiritual center; the detailed observance of the kashrut laws & the Chagim. Plus the warning to neither add nor subtract to the Mitzvot; the Torah is the Faithful Doctor’s “perfect prescription” to cure what ails us – disillusionment, disappointment, disarray & disaster.

Just consider what’s happening all around us in disparate societies across the globe, from Tunisia to Tottenham, from Tripoli to Tel Aviv . People are throwing off the constraints of society, of government, of the ruling “establishment.” They are marching, protesting, even rioting, in direct & blatant

defiance of the powers that be.

But what, exactly, are their goals? With what will they replace the existing status quo? When the screaming ends, and if the system in place is finally dismantled, what will anchor them & return them to normalcy? Just where, as Dylan might say, will they seek shelter from the storm?

Our Parsha makes it perfectly clear: In the ordered, sacrosanct eternity of a Torah way of life.

Anything else is just a shipwreck.