Parashat Re'eh opens with the verse, "See, I give before you today a blessing and a curse." (Deut. 11:26) Mystical sources explain that a Jew, even while alive, is surrounded by two different atmospheres: one of Gan Eden - Paradise - and one of Purgatory, the place where souls go to be purified after they finish their sojourn on this world. When a Jew thinks and speaks in a positive way, this leaves an impression that draws him into Gan Eden. Improper thoughts and words leave their impression and draw the person into Purgatory. Ultimately, even today the soul's location is determined by the person's deeds. When performing a mitzvah, our soul is in Gan Eden - the "blessing", and, G‑d forbid, in the opposite case, in Purgatory - the "curse". We are not just speaking metaphorically here. Upon contemplating how much effort being good takes, just remember how much of a burden all those people who practice being "not-good" carry around.

A child requires no wage because he will inherit all….

The Talmud describes the word "giving" as something done with a "kind eye". (Baba Batra 53) If so, how can a curse be "given"? The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that truly seeing even a negative situation brings us to recognize that the inner dimension and ultimate purpose of the "curse" is actually a blessing. When we do so, we see that the evil and punishment - the curse - must exist so that we have lives of free choice. Without these, we would not be able to choose the good - the blessing - and receive reward for doing so. Still, just as anything of importance, this ability to see past the surface to the truth within takes effort and training. But then again, life will look differently.

A well known question: while we do find hints to the World to Come in the Torah, we do not find specified anywhere in the Torah that we merit this as reward for our good deeds. This is strange since it is one of the principles of our faith. Rabbi Shlomo of Z'veill explains the verse in Re'eh, "You are children to the Lord your G‑d": (Deut. 14:1) What is the difference between a servant and a child? A servant does his or her job to receive compensation. This is not the case of a child. All that the father has is available to the child as long as the child does not rebel or run away. A child requires no wage because he will inherit all. Similarly, the Torah does not need to mention this greatest of rewards. As G‑d's children, all is ours as long as we do His will.

When Mashiach arrives we will still be commanded to…praise G‑d for taking us out of the Egyptian slavery….

Towards the end of the parasha is the commandment to eat matza on Pesach " order that you should remember the day you went out of Egypt all the days of your life." (Deut. 16:3) Why do we need the word "all"? The Mishna explains that the function of "all" is to include even the era of Mashiach. Even when Mashiach arrives we will still be commanded to remember and praise G‑d for taking us out of the Egyptian slavery. However, when Mashiach does arrive, we will not feel that we have received a free gift, but rather that we are receiving the result of our efforts - that we too have helped bring Mashiach. Don't put off till tomorrow what you can accomplish today!

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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