Weekly Torah Portion

Parashat Re’eh – Mevarekhim Hahodesh
Torah (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17): Etz Hayim p. 1061-1084
Haftarah (Isaiah 54:11-55:5): Etz Hayim p. 1085-1087

Israel is reminded that they are faced with a blessing and a curse: they will be blessed if they follow the commandments, and cursed if they do not. The Israelites are expected to destroy Canaanite sanctuaries and to make sacrifices to God only in the place that God specifies. Slaughter of meat is permitted in other circumstances. Later, the portion details animals that are permitted and forbidden for consumption.

Worship of other gods is strictly forbidden, even if one is tempted by those who claim to be a prophets, or by a family member or friend. A town that commits idolatry as a community is to be completely destroyed. Mourners must not make holes in their bodies or shave their heads on account of their loss. Farmers are required to tithe, especially for the poor. Poverty must be reduced whenever possible. Servants are to be released after six years of work unless they choose to stay in the household forever. Firstborn cattle must be sacrificed. The observance of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot is detailed.