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    “Re’eh – Look – See. I set before you
    today bracha, blessing and klalla, curse.”
    (Devarim 11:28).
    Moshe is speaking to Bnei Yisroel, placing
    before them two totally different life paths.
    One of blessing and goodness, the other of
    pain and difficulty.
    But why the term “re’eh – see”? If Moshe
    is speaking, shouldn’t it have been “shema
    – listen”?
    Moshe is telling the nation “re’eh”,
    visualize a life of bracha as compared to a
    life of hardship. He understood that the
    mind’s eye is so strong, so powerful, that
    its images can have a life-long impact.
    Malbim explains that in using the term
    “re’eh – see”, Moshe is telling his beloved
    people to look at the world around them, to
    observe its people and their lives. To watch
    those who live a life of Torah and mitzvos,
    and they will see people who are blessed.
    My mother a”h would teach that we should
    follow HaShem’s words to Avraham Avinu

    – “Veheyei bracha, and you will be a
    blessing… and all the people of the earth
    will be blessed through you”. (Bereishis
    To actually be a blessing. To do good. Be
    there for others and you will surely see
    bracha in your own life.
    While certainly nice, blessing does not
    mean a big, beautiful house, over-the-top
    vacations or the largest bank account.
    Blessing means inner peace and tranquility,
    living a purposeful life, a life of meaning
    and fulfillment.
    My mother cherished giving brachos. So
    often, she would bentch us and so many
    others with the bracha to “have nachas
    from yourself”. To be not just satisfied, but
    proud and happy of where you are in life.
    To wake up every morning looking
    forward to accomplishing more and more.
    The Kotzker Rebbe teaches that we each
    have our own individual path to Torah.
    What touches one person’s neshama
    doesn’t necessarily touch the next person’s.
    Re’eh – seek out; find the path that speaks

    to you. Find your way of
    bringing bracha to the world.
    It is interest to note that while
    the passage begins with the
    word “re’eh – see” in the
    singular form, addressing the
    individual, it then switches to
    “nosein lifneichem, placing
    before you”, using the plural
    term for you. Our Torah is
    teaching us that while we might
    live our life as individuals, we
    can’t separate ourselves from
    the world around us. We can’t say “It’s not
    my problem… let someone else worry
    about it. Let someone else care.”
    One of the messages of parshas Re’eh is
    that the “me” has to switch to “we”. Each
    one of us has a responsibility to make a
    difference. To make the world a better
    place. To be an individual who cares not
    only about himself, but also about those
    around us.
    Moshe’s message in Sefer Devarim was
    not only directed to those of his generation,
    but was a message for all generations. The
    pasuk continues, “Nosein lifneichem
    hayom – I present before you today”.
    From Moshe Rabbeinu to his generation,
    to modern times and for all future
    generations. The message is constant –
    to live a life of blessing “hayom –
    As a high school student, I loved getting
    pretty decorative notebooks and folders.
    Many of them had beautiful outdoor
    scenes with meaningful messages
    printed across them. I remember one in
    particular with the message, “Today is
    the first day of the rest of your life”.
    Hayom – Today. Each day comes with
    new opportunities. Each day is a chance
    to bring bracha to the world. It’s our
    choice. The path lies before us.
    This Shabbos we will bentch the new
    month of Elul. The parshiyos read
    during Chodesh Elul are timely; they
    have to do with self-improvement, of
    working on ourselves before Rosh
    HaShanah. Elul is HaShem’s gift of time
    to us. A month to prepare before the
    Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment. A
    month of introspection, of tefilla, of
    connecting to HaShem. The message of
    Re’eh and the message of Elul are one.
    As the shofar is sounded each day in
    Elul, we are reminded that today is the
    first day of the rest of our life. We can
    start over again. We can make a

    Hamodia magazine carries a column
    entitled “An American in Yerushalayim”.
    In it, Dov Fuchs shares stories, anecdotes
    with messages about his life as a
    transplanted American. One week he
    wrote about one of his favorite comfort
    foods, FROYO, a frozen yogurt. He would
    often stop off at the FROYO yogurt store
    on his way home from work and enjoy a
    cup of FROYO. Until one day, he arrived
    and the store is shuttered. He was
    disappointed about missing his favorite
    treat. A few weeks later he passes by, and
    sees a sign on that same storefront which
    read YOLO. How happy he was – FROYO
    became YOLO, yogurt that’s low.
    Dov was thrilled about the newly reopened
    store, and tried out the new dessert. And
    guess what – it was better tasting that the
    original FROYO. YOLO became his new
    go-to place. One day, he inquired of the
    staff at YOLO as to what were the
    ingredients that made this new treat so
    delicious. He was told that it’s the whole
    milk, heavy cream and sugar. He learned
    that the new product wasn’t low-fat yogurt
    after all, but that YOLO stood for YOU
    ONLY LIVE ONCE. You only live once,
    so you may as well take it all in, and get
    the tastiest, richest frozen dessert out there.
    To Mr. Fuchs, the YOLO experience came
    with a deeper message. And as we
    approach Chodesh Elul, we should ponder
    the real significance of YOLO – You Only
    Live Once. Yes, we all have only one
    sojourn on this earth. Do we squander that
    opportunity on seemingly enjoyable
    “sweets” that leave us with no eternal
    value, or do we make use of each and
    every day to absorb real delicacies – Torah,
    mitzvos and good deeds, that will bring us
    true life both in this world and in the World
    To Come.
    Re’eh – See. The choice is ours. To choose
    the right path that leads us to a life of
    blessing and fulfillment.