O holy Shabbes Inspiration Re’eh
See, I have set before you this day, a blessing and a curse
the blessing —
if you shall listen to the commandments of God
which I command you this day
and the curse —
if you shall not listen to the commandments of God
but turn aside
out of the way
go after other gods
which you have not known. [Deut. 11:26 ff.]
Goodbye Moses our mother
farewell old friend
sorry you’re not making the trip with us
You are preparing us for life without you.
Wear your rubbers
stay out of the rain
drink plenty of water
say your prayers
everything you’ve taught us before.
Don’t walk around in wet socks.
It begins with See – the intuitive grasp of everything
the momentary aha!
switching to listen
the way a message unfolds in sequence
as – I – am – writing – this
and you are hearing it.
Two ways of knowing
the intuitive grasp
the momentary apprehension
and the careful unfolding through sequencing
seeing and listening.
See is singular
switching to plural
listen is plural
all the verbs and pronouns go plural.
Every singular has the power to go plural
to tilt the world
— the world may be that evenly balanced —
one singular on this side
shifts it here
one on that side
shifts it there. [B.T. Kiddushin 40b]
To choose blessing seems obvious
this from the Italian: we are always extremist
we can choose either blessing
or curse [Ovadia Sforno 1475 – 1555]
it is always either/or for us.
Not all of us —
Choose it this day
this day three times in the passage
it’s a daily choice
you choose wrong today
you can choose right tomorrow.
Something else, from the Gerer rebbe
you know what listening is don’t you
listening implies blessing. [Sefat Emet, the Gerer rebbe]
You know what blessing is —
when you attach to the life of Life
the heart of the world.
What specifically is the blessing?
What the curse?
You know which choices are blessing
you know which are curses
so forget about this last point.
Here is the blessing
found in the mud:
I will bless you and increase you as the earth,
as the sands of the seashore as the sea,
look at the algae now
and the horseflies buzzing around your face,
I will make you as great as the algae, as the grasshoppers.
Look up now to the sky
you will be as great as the stars
as the darkness too
you will be as great as the darkness
as the sand and the sea and the stars
the mud and the dark and the green
the sticky stuff on the surf
the early rains and the later rains
the mud and the mud the green the sand the dark.
You will be a blessing —
as great as the dark
as the sea