Friday, August 22, 2014
Re'ei 5631 First Ma'amar
“רְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיוֹם בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָה/Look, I place before you today blessing and curse.” (Devarim 11:26) The Chiddushei HaRim notes that this pasuk establishes that we are each able to distinguish between good and bad, between blessing and curse, and to choose the blessing. This is the meaning of the first of the blessings we say each morning, “... הַנוֹתֵן לַשֶׂכְוִי בִינָה לְהַבְחִין .../… Who gives the heart understanding to distinguish …”
We find this concept in the Midrash on the pasuk, “... וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים .../… and you shall choose life …” (Devarim 30:19) God not only places the choices before us. He also teaches us to choose life. The implication is that we have the ability to make a choice.
Often, we feel that we are the victims of circumstance. Being a victim implies powerlessness. The Chiddushei HaRim is teaching us that God always gives us a choice and empowers us to choose.