This is my first post reflecting on the weekly Torah Portion. If you're not familiar with this annual cycle of reading through key Old Testament texts you can check out the link at the end of the post.
Re'eh - ראה
Torah: Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:11 - 55:5
Gospel: John 6:35-51
This Hebrew word re'eh means "see," and as you can imagine, it has layers of meaning. One aspect of the word is simply the ability to see. It also means having vision: a transcendent, prophetic, or covenantal perspective.
This Torah Portion covers several topics about how Israel was to conduct herself as a nation in covenant with God, and it includes a review of the pilgrimage feasts. The biblical calendar, similar to the Hebrew language, has layers of meaning. Each feast has unique qualities and insights. One element of the feasts, especially Passover, is a call to remember. It's a call to look backward in order to rightly see the present and cultivate a hopeful expectation for the future. It's a feast about vision. Jesus' Passover meal before His crucifixion embodied this reality of connecting the past, present, and future, and His example invites us to do the same.
I look for creative, hands-on ways to celebrate and remember the feasts with my family. When I sit down with my children and discuss the meaning and events connected to the feasts, I refer to Israel and the Jewish people as "our ancestors." I want my children to understand themselves as a part of the history of God's covenant people. It's important to note that we're not Jewish. However, the blood of Jesus joins us to the household of faith and the testimony of the saints throughout the ages (Rom. 11: 17-18; Eph. 2:13; Heb. 11:40). I want my children to remember so they can see themselves rightly and have vision for the future. The Lord's faithfulness through the ages is our inheritance!
Remembering is essential at a time when authoritarian and totalitarian ideologies are demanding worship and submission. When the biblical foundations and practices are in place for us to see, this principle transcends biblical history. We can effectively apply this same dynamic to modern history and current events. As we identify with the legacy of biblical history, it's imperative that we also identify with legacies left by brave men and women who stood against tyranny and oppression in the recent past. If we fail to look back and remember, we will not see the present accurately, and we will surrender our vision for the future.
*First Fruits of Zion is my favorite place to check the Torah Portion calendar.
Michael Onifer is an author, speaker, Director of Vital Seed Ministries, and founder of the 62:10 Project.