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ב"ה

What do you see?

Friday, 22 August, 2014 - 2:27 pm

using binoculars.jpg 

“If you don’t see what you’re looking for – you’ve come to the right place,” claims the sign at the opticians office.

In life, too, we have to look for the right things in the right places. If not, we will find ourselves not seeing what we’re truly looking for.

This week’s Torah portion begins with the word “Re’eh,” see. Moshe is telling the Jewish people “See I have placed before you blessing and curse.” Moshe is reminding them of an extremely important fact, the way to look.

Not that there are blessings and there are curses, rather choose what to see: blessing or curse.

In this week’s portion the Torah repeats the list of non-kosher birds. One bird is referred to with a different name than previously, here it is called the Ra’ah bird.

The Talmud wonders, why is it’s name changed here? And it explains that it’s name is a reference to its keen eyesight (the Hebrew name of this bird, Ra’ah, means “seeing”).

Ok, fine - it’s new name is a reference to it’s sight. However there is a peculiar statement that the Talmud adds to this. The Talmud continues and states that this birds eyesight is so powerful that it can be located in Bavel (modern day Iraq) and it can see a carcass in Israel.

Is this even possible? Can modern technology accomplish this? Not necessarily. So what is the Talmud trying to communicate? There is a powerful lesson embedded within this enigmatic statement: One can be looking at the holiest place on earth, Israel - yet only see a carcass.

One can be looking at positive occurrences - in our life or in the world at large - yet only see negative, a “carcass.” The flipside is the same: we can see and experience truly negative, yet only perceive the good within it.

It’s totally up to us as to how we view the world - if we are in “Bavel,” a place of negativity and strife, we will see a “carcass.” However, if we ensure that our place in life and our surroundings are positive, we will see the good in everything.

Here is my challenge to you - and please do share your thoughts: This week we learned of the barbaric beheading of an American journalist by terrorists in Iraq; we’ve been watching for weeks as terrorists in Gaza continue to fire rockets at Israeli civilians; we’ve seen riots and tension in Ferguson, MI; we are witnessing the rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world - the list goes on. What can possibly be the positive view to take on these events?

May we only see - and truly experience - good in our lives!

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