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Re’eh ~ 5772 ~ ראה
Moshe continues his plea to Israel to follow G-d’s Commandments. There is a reward (blessing) for those who do so and a punishment (curse) for those who do not. The first command here is to destroy all the Heathen places of idolatry and to sacrifice only where G-d instructs us. Moshe continues with the admonition to be careful not to sacrifice or eat “Holy” food outside the soon to be appointed Holy City, and to always support the Levites. Kosher animals may be slaughtered for food whenever you want, however, the animals blood is forbidden for consumption.
This last doctrine of Moses continues with a warning against adopting the hideous traditions of the heathens. Do not let even close family or friends seduce you to idolatry. The penalty for enticing and seducing a person to idolatry or encouraging it in any form, is death. Excessive mourning is forbidden, specifically deforming the body as a sign of grief.
The forbidden and permitted animals are enumerated herein. The Laws of Tithing (donating 10% to the Levites and an additional 10% set aside to be eaten in Jerusalem each year) are also repeated here.
The Laws of the Sabbatical Year are enumerated, particularly that all loans and debts are relinquished for free and all Hebrew slaves are set free. If the slave refuses to go free, his ear is pierced as a sign of his desire to remain a slave and he is indentured for life.
The first born cattle must be eaten in Jerusalem. The holiday of Passover is outlined here, followed by the other two Pilgrimage Festivals, Shavuot and Sukkot.
MAFTIR Shabbat Rosh Chodesh ~ Numbers 28:9 – 15 ~ page 695
HAFTARAH Shabbat Rosh Chodesh ~ Isaiah 66:1 – 66:24 ~ page 944-947
Parashah Study Questions
1. How do we explain the “lashon Kefula” (redundancy of language) in v. 12:2?
2. In verse 12:23, the Rabbis explain Moshe was emphatic and said “Rak Chazak” – ‘be steadfast’ – because the consuming of blood was widespread. Consuming blood was widespread?!
3. Rabbis say there is a connection between forbidding copying idolatrous customs (12:31), and the mitzvah immediately following against adding to the laws of the Torah (13:1)?
4. Is the turkey listed amongst the traif fowl; (14:11-19)? What is the origin of why some ultra-observant DO NOT eat turkey?
5. Which is the first Pilgrimage festival? Pesach? Shavuot or Sukkot?