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It's All in How You See It

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See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse. Deuteronomy 11:26

The Torah portion for this week is Re'eh, which means "see," from Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 54:11-55:5.

This week's reading begins: "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse." In the English translations, all seems to make sense. However, when we look at the original Hebrew version something is amiss in this verse. The word "See" is written in the singular tense, as though God is addressing each individual. However, the word "you" in the verse is written in the plural form, indicating that God is speaking to the collective audience.

What is the reason for this grammatical inconsistency?

Imagine a classroom full of students. On the front wall, right in the middle, is a large mirror. If we ask students sitting on the left side of the classroom what they see, they would say they see the kids sitting on the right side of the room. However, if we ask the students on the right side of the room what they see, they would report that the mirror surely reflected their classmates on the left side of the classroom. Depending on where each child was located in the classroom, he or she would see a different image reflected in the same mirror.

Life is much like that mirror. Depending on where we stand, we see different things. This is why God first addressed the individual. We all are made up of a unique set of experiences, character traits, and the choices we make. We each see the world from our individual perspective. But God also addressed the general population because we all face the same world, and often, just different variations of the same challenges. Who we are as individuals will determine how we see the larger picture revealed to us all.

I am reminded of a story about a pair of twins with opposite dispositions. One twin was an incurable optimist; the other, a perpetual pessimist. The parents, concerned about the extremes, consulted a psychologist. The psychologist recommended that for their next birthday, each twin should receive a different present. For the pessimist, a shiny new bicycle. For the optimist, a box full of manure. When the birthday arrived, the pessimist opened his box and said: "A brand new bike! I'll probably fall off of it and hurt my foot." The optimist opened his box and ran outside with excitement saying "If there's this much manure, there must be a pony somewhere!"

Similarly, we all have the choice to determine what we see in life. We can see a blessing or a curse, depending on our perspective. Let's make the choice to see things from a godly perspective. Everything is a blessings - it's all in how you see it.

It's All in How You See It,

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