Seeing the blessing and the curse – and getting with the program

Science, prophetic Torah and the Holy Temple.

Rabbi Chaim Richman and Jim Long ,

Priestly Blessings at the Western Wall
Priestly Blessings at the Western Wall
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

This week’s Torah portion of parashat Re’eh is a call for the Children of Israel to become a just, sensitive society in the land promised to the forefathers, always to remain focused on the presence of G-d in their midst.

The Land of Israel, Moshe teaches, is the physical embodiment of holiness by Divine decree, from the beginning of time, by its very nature, and thus it will naturally nurture this people to become this sensitive society. The whole Torah, especially the action oriented mitzvoth, and particularly in the Land of Israel, is about developing a heightened sensitivity to ‘avodat Hashem’…serving G-d through everything that we do.

And in our Torah portion this week, the concept of the permanent location of the Holy Temple begins to emerge and take shape: for the first time we are told about ‘The place that Hashem your G-d will choose from among all your tribes to place His Name, there shall you seek out His presence and come there.’ (12:5)

In this week’s episode of the Jerusalem Lights podcast, our hosts examine the challenge of ‘seeing the blessing and curse’ presented in parashat Re’eh, connecting these timeless truths with the fabric of our contemporary reality.