Glasses Half Full

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A WEEKLY TORAH THOUGHT FROM RABBI MORDY
They say seeing is believing. Well, if that’s the case, this Parsha is about belief. The Parsha is called “Re’eh,” which literally means “seeing,” and begins with Moses speaking to the Jewish people about important choices they need to make. His exact words? “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse.” He’s telling the Jewish people they face a choice —blessing or curse. Seriously? Which would you choose? C’mon folks. This is an easy one…
So why? Why does Moses say this in the form of a choice which, according to traditional Jewish study, implies that they two options are in some way equally attractive?
The answer is the name of the Parsha itself. “See.” Look. Have the Jewish perspective. We can view anything virtually upside down. If enough people around us tell us that something is real or good or true, without strong resolve, we will tend to believe it too, regardless of what our eyes and gut tell us. Because we are social creatures and our behavior is funny like that. So, what we need to do this week, especially as we begin the Jewish month of Elul when preparation for the new year gets underway, is focus on that perspective. If we view a situation as a challenge that we need to overcome, we can realize how it makes us better people. If, however, we see that as just another awful thing that happened to “poor old me,” well, that’s just what it will be. What we see determines our reality. Let’s see life events as blessings rather than curses; Moses assures us we have the ability to choose that, even it’s initially difficult to do so. And let us hope this open-eyed perspective brings a good, happy and healthy year, no matter how you look at it! Good Shabbos.

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