There are five Shabbatot this month and on the third, or middle, Shabbat we read parshat Re’eh, Behold, one of the portions from which I have gleaned the most over the years. The portion begins, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse…”
So many things in our lives can be blessings or curses—or both—depending upon how we look at them. Once, on a beach I noticed the beautiful formation of birds flying overhead; a moment later, these same gulls were devouring the lunches of an unsuspecting family who had gone down to the water. Blessing or curse?
A pistol can take the life of a loved one, but it can also signal the beginning of your child’s first race. And mold can lead to so much food being thrown out, while it also led to the discovery of penicillin. Blessings or curses?
Most things in our lives present us with two sides and it is up to us to choose how we will view our experiences and use the resources around us. Will we see the best in people or the worst? The promise in a situation or the stumbling blocks?
The way we handle life’s challenges tells so much more about us than about the universe that presented them. Many people spend the current days lamenting lockdowns and grieving the gatherings and celebrations put on hold. Others spend these quiet days reflecting on their blessings and looking for ways to share them with others. During this unprecedented time, there is more sadness and frustration surrounding us than many of us have ever witnessed; however, there is also more kindness, more generosity and more reaching out than many of us have ever seen.
Re’eh, behold! Real life has been set before us; is it a blessing or a curse? Each of us must make that call. Is your glass half empty or half full?