Parashat Re’eh (“See”) (Devarim 11:26-16-17)
See (Devarim 11:26). See what? See that the month of Elul is rapidly approaching, when the Divine Beloved is most accessible to every holy soul. We bless the New Moon of Elul on Shabbat Re’eh.
See that I Am is right this very moment placing before all of you a blessing and a kelalah. (Devarim 11:26). What does kelalah, usually understood as “curse,” mean in this verse?
It is so easy to see things in dualistic terms, but how does the Torah really want us to see? As Source of all that appears, Be-ing is constantly placing before us both what we may conceive of as a blessing and also what seems to us to be a curse. If we separate the apparently undesirable from the Source, duality becomes a curse. But if we can see that Be-ing is manifesting as both “blessing” and “curse,” then the kelalah (curse) becomes lighter (kalah) until it can be transformed through the special transformative practices of Hasidism and seen as itself an aspect of the blessing.
Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch, taught the whole earth is full of kinyanechah (Psalms 124:4) means that every situation is an opportunity for acquiring “You” – You who pre-exists creation and You who alone truly exists even after creation. (Morning blessings).
It is a blessing when you really pay attention (Devarim 11:27) and see that what may appear as a curse, I AM is sending to you now, is really a great blessing in disguise by means of which we can establish a deeper bond with Be-ing Herself. The Maggid of Mezritch is really teaching us that everything that occurs to us, including all the negative traits, thoughts, and emotions that may arise within our experience, can be transformed. Paradoxically, these “bad” experiences offer the greatest opportunity and highest level of practice for developing our spiritual qualities and serving the Source of Be-ing.
Regardless of whatever occurs, it is a blessing whenever you really pay attention to the fact that Be-ing who G-ds you is now sending your way an opportunity for uniting with Her. (Devarim 11:27). It only becomes a curse if you don’t transform it into an opportunity for cleaving to Be-ing who G-ds you and allow yourself to be diverted from the way that I AM is directing you at that moment, to follow after other lower powers that are really not so impressive from the perspective of the truer mind state of da’at (when one is directly experiencing the Presence of Be-ing who G-ds you). (Devarim 11:28).
Rebbe Elemelekh of Lizhensk, one of the highest of all the students of the Maggid of Mezritch, had an even deeper way of seeing. Why is our parashah called “See” and not “hear” as in other cases where the Torah requires our heightened attention? Rebbe Elemelekh explains that hearing can easily be associated with fear. Just by hearing about something terrible, we can already experience a deep state of fear. But to truly experience love, the Beloved has to be Present. We have to actually experience the One we love. If the Beloved is not close enough to see, we may experience great longing, but not yet love itself. Love is experienced in the union of Lover and Beloved. In Hebrew, ahavah (love) and echad (one) have the same gematria(numerical value) to teach us that love implies oneness.
And so we learn, when you are in the non-dual state of seeing, I AM causes multiplicity to manifest before you (the plural lifneychem), and at that very moment both blessing and curse still arises (Devarim 11:26). In other words, even while resting in the ground of non-duality, “see” the duality that still arises within multiplicity. Realizing the non-dual view does not exempt us from our avodah.
The point is never to assume that avodah (living in a way that advances the realization of the Divine Dream) is ever finished. “Beginner’s Mind,” from the perspective of Hasidic teaching, means never assuming that one has become accomplished. Every moment is a new beginning. So even though one may experience the view of non-duality and really see everything without exception as an emanation of Be-ing who G-ds you, nevertheless, within time and space, as the Ba’al Shem Tov teaches, we still have to make a havdalah, a clear separation between blessing and curse. For as long as we can distinguish the difference between them, the process of evolving consciousness can be accelerated as we consciously transform our curses into blessings. How? Through seeing the curse as curse, relaxing into the hidden Presence of Be-ing that G-ds you at that very moment, and allowing the energy of the “curse” to softly lighten as it is released.
So, it will be a cause of joy when Be-ing that G-ds you takes you to the Ground of Be-ing that you are always approaching, so you can interface with it, while you clearly distinguish the blessing from the curse. For are they not both still arising on the other side of the crossing-over into non-duality place…? (Devarim 11:29-30).
For you are even now truly crossing over beyond Jordan (the place from which Binah descended) to come to the interface with the Ground of Be-ing, that Be-ing who G-ds you gives you to interface with and rest in. (Devarim 11:31)
When you are there, be mindful in doing everything that must be done, and that it is right to do, which I AM causes to manifest before you within multiplicity. (Devarim 11:32).
These are the things that must be done and that are right to do that you should be mindful of while resting in the Ground of Be-ing that Be-ing who G-ds your highest sefirot gives you to interface with as long as you are alive on this manifest earth. (Devarim 12:1).
Lose completely the outmoded old-paradigm view that divinity is exclusively found and served only in specifically demarcated holy places. Destroy all childish notions in your mind and heart of how to serve divinity, until not a trace remains. (Devarim 12: 2-3).
That’s not the way to serve Be-ing who G-ds you. But, rather, constantly be on the lookout for anyplace where Be-ing that G-ds you chooses to manifest the Shekhinah. (Devarim 12:4-5). Offer right there on the spot whatever you have, including your sacrifices, your generosity, your helping hand, and make your vows and commitments there. (Devarim 12:6).
And you will be nourished there by the energy of your service in the Presence of Be-ing who G-ds you, happy in all that you do and in every context within which Be-ing who G-ds you blesses you. (Devarim 12:7).
You won’t continue to act without Divine Guidance the way you do here now, because you have not yet reached the place of Inner Repose that Be-ing who G-ds you is bestowing upon you. (Devarim 12:9).
But when you cross over the Jordan (from which Binah descended) and you rest in the Ground of Be-ing that Be-ing who G-ds you is already always bestowing upon you, then you will no longer feel threatened by external enemies, but will rest secure(within the Ground of Be-ing). (Devarim 12:10).
And even if the place where Be-ing that G-ds you chooses to manifest the Shekhinah seems very distant from you” meaning that you are far from fathoming what the true non-dual view is, “just follow I AM’s direction and make lesser kinds of offerings from the resources that Be-ing bestows upon you and you will still be nourished by the holy sparks of your service even though you have not fully transcended your limited self, and this way you may yet acquire all that your soul truly desires.” (Devarim 12:21).
May we all be blessed to truly see how both what appears to us as blessing
and what appears as curse
arise from the One Ground of Be-ing Herself;
May that deep insight enable us to lighten all that appears as curse,
transforming everything to blessing,
that we may live on the angelic food of our soul’s holy sparks,
and in that way do our unique service
in all the sacred places revealed to us
with inner repose and full of joy.
Rabbi Moshe Aharon Ladizhyner
(aka Rabbi Miles Krassen)