Parshat Re’eh – August 15, 2020/25 Av 5780

A weekly digest of the Parshat HashavuaDownload PDF version here

Parshat Re’eh

  • Torah Portion: Stone Chumash, p.998, 126 Psukim   
  • Haftorah: Isaiah Ch.54/11  Stone Chumash p. 1197 “Aniya So’arah”

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting: 7:35p
  • Latest Shma: 9:45a
  • Earliest Mincha: 1:41p
  • Perek: Chapter 5
  • Havdalah: 8:35p
  • Zoom Havdalah: 8:50p

Rosh Chodesh Elul- Thursday & Friday

Molad: Wed. August 19, 16 Chalakim and 54min. After 1AM

Beginning on Thursday morning, it is customary to blow the Shofar. In some communities they blow Tekiah-Shvarim-Teruah-Tekiah one time; in others, just one long Tekiah. This is done each day until and not including the 29th of Elul, when we break in order to demonstrate the difference between the custom and the halacha. If you own a shofar, now would be a good time to practice! Rabbi Kelman will also be blowing shofar on his daily zoom class at 9:00am. 

Themes in Parshat Re’eh

Parshat Re’eh contains many themes. Moshe informs the people of a new Mitzva, the blessings and the curses which will be given on Mt. Grizim, and Mt. Eval  sometime after entering the land of Israel. G-d will choose a place upon which they will construct a permanent Temple.  After settling in the land they will be permitted to slaughter meat for food according to the laws handed down orally. The rules for authenticating a genuine prophet, and disqualifying a false one. The prohibitions against self- mutilation; the laws of kosher; the laws of tithing, the laws of the Sabbatical year; the laws of giving charity; and a brief description of the Jewish holidays.

Lesser-known Torah rules 

“Thou shalt eradicate idolatry from the Land……Thou shall not do so to the L-rd Thy G-d.” (Deut. 12:31)

The Rabbis derive from this last verse that one must be exceedingly careful not to erase the name of G-d, in any way. This is akin to the mitzvah of not taking the L-rd’s name in vain. How to Jews observe this mitzvah on a practical level? 

When writing letters to friends or other correspondence, in any language, we are careful not to write G-d’s name out in full, but rather we place a dash or another symbol, or a letter (such as the letter Heh), representing G-d’s name, instead. We do so because we recognize that most people throw letters out after reading them, and the name of G-d might ultimately be thrown in the trash- G-d forbid! 

In addition, a scribe who writes a Torah must declare, before each time that he writes G-d’s name, that he does so for the sake of the sanctification of G-d’s holy name. If he makes a mistake writing the Name, he is forbidden to erase what he wrote and then rewrite it, rather he must remove the entire column of parchment from the Torah, and send it for Geniza (burial). However, if the scribe intended to write the name Yehuda, but accidentally left out the letter Dalet, thereby willy-nilly writing G-d’s name, he may erase the final hey and add the dalet, heh, since he never had the intention of writing G-d’s name. In the opposite case, if he unintentionally wrote Yehuda instead of G-d’s name, he may erase the final Heh, and turn the dalet into a heh. 

Haftora: Aniya So’ara- Poor, Storm-tossed.

In this week’s Haftora, G-d consoles the tempest tossed Zion, that she shall be rewarded for her faithfulness at the end of days. G-d promises that Israel shall be invincible, any novel weapons that the nations of the world would create, will not succeed against her. At that time anyone who truly thirsts, and hungers for the word of G-d will be satiated beyond his wildest imaginations, and many peoples will run to you seeking knowledge.

Rabbi Avraham Kelman