Look and See
When Temira was just 3 years old, we spent the summer in Israel. She was especially excited to go to the Kotel - the Western Wall - as she had learned that this was where HaShem’s home was.
When we arrived at the Kotel that Friday night, I noticed her looking very concerned. She asked me “Where is HaShem? I can’t find him.” I told her “HaShem is everywhere!”
A few minutes later she tapped me again. “I have been looking everywhere and I can’t find HaShem.”
Sometimes when we look at what’s happening to us and the world around us, nothing makes sense. Nothing can justify the sadness and horrors we hear about around the world. We ask ourselves if there is a God, where is He? How can He let this happen?
G‑d, it seems, does not require us to understand Him or see Him in order for Him to exist.
Viktor Frankl used to emphasize that our lives are determined not by what happens to us, but by how we respond to what happens to us – and how we respond depends on how we interpret events. Is this disaster the end of my world? Am I being called on to exercise heroic strength so that I can survive and help others to survive? We have to ask ourselves who we are as individuals, as a people, what we are trying to achieve, and what we aspire to be.
This week’s Torah portion Re’eh is all about seeing. Moses is speaking to the children of Israel. “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse,”
We understand that God has given us the gifts of wisdom and understanding to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, between a blessing and a curse.
This is why we must be told to “see” and not simply to know or understand:
“Open your eyes and look deeper, much deeper,” G‑d is telling us, “and you will see inside each curse blessings you could never have imagined.”
This Shabbat let’s put off what’s urgent for what’s important and really “See” our world!