PARASHA OF THE WEEK

RE'EH

See,” says Moses to the people of Israel, “I place before you today a blessing and a curse” - the blessing that will come when they fulfil G-d’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them.  These should be proclaimed on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal when the people cross over into the Holy Land.

A Temple should be established in “the place that G-d will choose to make dwell His name there,” where the people should bring their sacrifices to Him; it is forbidden to make offerings to G-d in any other place.  It is permitted to slaughter animals elsewhere, not as a sacrifice, but to eat their meat; the blood (which in the Temple is poured upon the altar), however, may not be eaten.

A false prophet, or one who entices others to worship idols, should be put to death; an idolatrous city must be destroyed.  The identifying signs for kosher animals and fish and the list of non-kosher birds (first given in Leviticus 11), are repeated.

A tenth of all produce is to be eaten in Jerusalem, or else exchanged for money with which food is purchased and eaten there.  In certain years this tithe is given to the poor instead.  Firstborn cattle and sheep are to be offered in the Temple, and their meat eaten by the kohanim (priests).

The mitzvah of charity obligates a Jew to aid a needy fellow with a gift or loan.  On the Sabbatical year (occurring every seventh year), all loans are to be forgiven.  All indentured servants are to be set free after six years of service.

Our Parshah concludes with the laws of the three pilgrimage festivals - Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot - when all should go to “see and be seen” before G-d in the Holy Temple.

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