This week we study Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17).
* Every choice you make contains a blessing and a curse. Moshe does not say “a blessing or a curse.” He says, “a blessing and a curse.” Almost all blessings contain curses and almost all curses contain blessings. The ability to look for the good in what happens distinguishes the successful person. Everybody who is successful at something has a PMA (positive mental attitude) in that area.
* If you leave what God wants, you’ll worship other gods.
* Your being yearns to slaughter and eat meat (Deut. 12:15). I am conscious of no such desire. So many inherent desires can be propagandized out of you just as my innate meat-eating desire was propagandized away by my Seventh-Day Adventist upbringing.
* “You will eat as much as you want.” Something Jews do, which is why so many of them are overweight.
* Deut. 12:28. Do what is right and good in the eyes of God. Jewish law can’t cover every situation. This is your guide to ethical choices.
* Deut. 13:9. Do not pity and do not take compassion on anyone who asks you to worship false gods. I dig this. The modern mood is that compassion is always right. It’s not. Compassion given out without discrimination is not compassion. If you are compassionate to everyone you are compassionate to no one. Even compassion has to be expressed within moral boundaries.
* Jews don’t seem to celebrate reformed sinners the way Christians do. As a Christian growing up, it was always great to read books and attend lectures by people who used to be hellraisers and have now given their lives to God. You don’t get as much of this in Jewish life. Christians have a more romantic view of life. Jews are more realistic. They don’t see much to celebrate in sinners.
* Deut. 14:26. You can spend your money on whatever your soul desires. Judaism wants you to enjoy life and part of enjoying life is spending your money as your soul desires (within the boundaries of Jewish law). So I see strictly observant Torah Jews driving sports cars.
* Deut. 15:4. “May there be no poor among you.” Judaism does not extol or glorify poverty. Poverty sucks.
* The ban on consuming blood is unique to the Torah. You can eat the animal’s carcass but you can’t eat its life. That belongs to God.
* Who are the false prophets of our day? Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “The new ideologues such as the Greens, who are dangerously close to pantheism, if not paganism; the homosexual lobby, interested in proselytizing others and debasing all standards of accepted human behavior established over the last two millennia; and the true believers, both Right and Left, who believe that coercive social engineering is the panacea for all our inner and communal ills, are all part of the group of the false prophets of our time.”