Parashat Re'eh: Choices
We make choices all the time. Small ones like what food to order in a restaurant, big ones that mark the footsteps of your life path, and all the in between. Choices make up who we are. How we make them and how we handle them.
In this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh, Moses presents the Israelites with a special blessing and a curse, “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, that you will heed the commandments of the Lord your G-d, which I command you today; and the curse, if you will not heed the commandments of the Lord your G-d, but turn away from the way I command you this day, to follow other gods, which you did not know (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).” What is the blessing and what is the curse? A choice perhaps? The blessing and the curse is the ability to choose. Specifically, the Israelites are presented the options of what could happen if they choose to follow G-d, or not. A choice. A blessing and a curse. According to Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, “Freedom of choice has been granted to every man: if he desires to turn toward a good path and be righteous, the ability to do so is in his hands; and if he desires to turn toward an evil path and be wicked, the ability to do so is in his hands . . . (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 5)” Freedom of choice. A blessing and a curse. G-d knows the power of choice. More than that how hard it is to make a choice. Weighing the pros and cons of everything, wondering if one way is better than the other. But it was important to G-d that we knew we had that choice. The blessing and the curse because no choice is easy to make.
Tonight at your Shabbat dinner table think about what it means to have choices and to make choices. Think about how your choices have shaped you, and where they will lead you. Remember in life there are always choices. The magnitude of this may feel great. Especially since we all make what we deem as good choices, bad choices, and all the in between. Whether a blessing or a curse, having the freedom of choice is a gift. To be able to build your own life is a gift.