See I place before you today blessing and curse… (Devarim 11:26)
There is a way to read a verse like this in parts and new messages begin to emerge. The Ba’al Shem Tov suggests we read “Re’eh”-see “ANOCHI”- I and then the placement of blessing and curse before you. The mandate is to see “ANOCHI” as in “ANOCHI HASHEM” as is stated in the introduction to the Ten Commandments. There the whole nation “saw the voice”. They saw what could be heard. They perceived with the more physical sense of sight that which is usually heard and in the realm of abstract thought. See that HASHEM is giving you blessing. How do we accomplish that? How do we gain Emunah Chushis- a concrete and feeling belief?
The Chovos HaLevavos- Duties of the Heart offers thirty different ideas to contemplate and reflect seriously upon. Some of very surprising and novel but only because they are so obvious we may never notice them. It’s like looking for our glass while we are wearing them. How silly you feel when you look in a mirror and find what you were searching madly for perched on your very nose. Here are just a few points to ponder.
- 1) “Reflect on you origins- how you came into existence from non-existence and were transformed from nothingness to life, not because you deserved it, but because of G-d’s kindness, goodness, and generosity. You will recognize how much more important, exalted, and noble you are than animals, plants, and minerals, and you will see how grateful you should be to you Creator!” The first stunning notion is that life is a 100% gift! Nobody owed us this opportunity! Secondly, we could have been born or created as anything! You could have been a squirrel or an arachnid or frog but you and I were created as human beings. We should make a blessing daily, “Who has not fashioned me a rodent- fill in the blank!”
2) “Consider how generous G-d has been to you; how perfectly he has structured your body, outlined your shape, refined your mental powers, and modeled your limbs. In His kindliness, He helped you exit your mother’s womb and provided you with sufficient nourishment before and after birth. Imagine that you were born without eyes, hands, or feet and imagine how grateful you would be to a person who provided you with these, making you complete!” Cogitate on that! Millions of dollars of equipment with genius are woven and wired and sewn and knitted together to work with amazing coordination. You can almost taste the blessing already!
3) “Contemplate how good G-d has been by granting to you a thinking -perceptive mind and many noble qualities that make you superior to animals…Picture yourself a mindless boor! If someone helped you become intelligent, you would certainly recognize how much better off you are. Would a lifetime be sufficient to thank that person and to repay him?”
4) Be mindful of G-d’s greatest gift- that He made you aware of the magnificent Torah which sustains your life in this world and in the World to Come. It does away with your spiritual blindness, lights up your eyes, draws you close to G-d’s Will, and makes known to you the true perspective on the Creator and your obligations to Him, in order to enable you attain perfect happiness in both worlds!”
One my daughters came home with a powerful and impactful a one liner that really hit home. She relayed a message that she had received from a friend that offered the following mind expanding challenge: “What if you woke up tomorrow with only those things- you thanked Hakodesh Borch Hu for today!” How thorough our inventory would be – from ALEPH to TOF. We’d be happily focused all day counting our blessings and blessings within blessings today! DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.