Reb Shlomo ztz’l
Re’eh – 1982
The Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Elul is always ‘Re’eh Anochi’. It’s the Shabbos where G-d gives back to every person the vision of the way we are suppose to look.
And here I want you to know something very deep.
It says ‘Re’eh Anochi’, ‘Behold See that I’ is all in singular, Nosen Lifneichem Hayom, ‘Am Placing Before All of You’, is already said in plural. So everybody is asking, why does G-d start off by saying ‘Re’eh’ in singular but ends off ‘Lifneichem Hayom’ which is already in plural? The answer is very simple. The world always thinks that in order to fit into a society you have to give up your individuality. The more you become a bagel the more you fit, but in G-d’s society it’s the other way around. If you don’t know who you are supposed to be, you are not part of Israel, you are a misfit. If you want to be part of ‘Nosen Lifneichem Hayom’, if you want to be part of all of Israel… ah, this is mamesh something else.
You know what it is, it’s really crazy, it’s the facts of life. The less a person has any idea what a yid is all about, he doesn’t know how to be part of all of Israel, let’s face it. This yidele from Temple of the Blue Bagel who thinks he is the greatest human being in the world, and he thinks that the greatest Jew ever born has no part in any society, mamesh not really in any society.
So this portion begins with ‘Re’eh Anochi’, and in Chassidus it says Re’eh Anochi, I’ll show you your ‘I’. I will show you what you can be, I will show you what you are supposed to be.
You know friends, it’s so crazy. What is the greatest evil in the world? The greatest evil in the world is if you take away somebody’s hope, or somebody’s vision that they will never be what they wanted to be, what they set out to be. All the other nations who are fighting Israel, okay, we will conquer them, we will make peace with them, they are not that terrible. Amalek is the worse. Amalek is saying to yidden ‘listen, you wanted to be G-d’s people, you were set out to be G-d’s people. You will never make it, let’s face it, you will never make it’.
Yisro came to Moshe after he heard of the crossing of the red sea and the fighting of Amalek, and he wants to become a yid. In a nutshell it’s like this. What is the difference between the exodus of Egypt and the crossing of the red sea? On the night we came out of Egypt, G-d gave us a vision of what G-d is all about. When we crossed the Red Sea G-d gave us a vision of what Israel is all about, of what yidden are all about. It says that when crossing the red sea, the lowest lowest Jew had higher visions than prophecy.
If you remember, we were learning it a hundred times. To know what you can be is deeper than prophecy. It’s possible to be the highest prophet in the world. I can know exactly when the messiah is coming, I can know what happened exactly two hundred years ago. I can know what Moshe Yankel is doing in Borough Park. But mamesh to know what Yidden are all about, to know mamesh G-d’s plan with the Yidden, this is the deepest depths there is, deeper than prophecy.
So after we crossed the Red Sea we got this vision of what will happen mamesh till Mashiach is coming: Ad Ya’avor Amcha Hashem – we will make it, it was clear to us. After Amalek saw the crossing of the Red Sea – Vayavo Amalek. That he can’t stand. He doesn’t mind if you are a Jew for one day but he wants you to have your doubts about tomorrow. I don’t care if you go to Israel be a little bit there, but don’t have this vision that mamesh it’s going to happen, get rid of that vision.
I’ll tell you the deepest depths. What did the Beis Hamikdash do to us? Imagine I would walk around being a garbage collector and someone would tell me ‘you know, you can do unbelievable things’. It’s hard to break away from collecting garbage, but if this vision would be mamesh clear to me, what I can do… crazy, what am I wasting my time with garbage. Being in exile is that I lost this vision.
Now friends, let it be clear to you. You cannot have a real vision of yourself unless you have a vision of all of Israel… you can’t. And you can’t have a vision of all of Israel unless you have a vision of yourself. So again, here we begin Re’eh Anochi, the Ribbono Shel Olam says ‘I am giving you back your vision of your eyes, to mamesh know what you can do’. Nosen Lifneichem Hayom, and realize that I am mamesh giving it back to you in the midst of all of Israel.