Re'eh: A Summary of the Parashah

Moses instructs the Israelites regarding idolatry, false prophets, clean and unclean foods, tithes, freeing slaves, and the pilgrimage festivals.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

In his last speech to the Israelites, Moses warns them, "If you follow God's laws, you will be blessed more than all the peoples of the earth. However, if you worship false idols and ignore the other commandments, then you shall be cursed and perish.

"These are the statutes which you are to carry out. You shall utterly destroy the places where the nations, whose property you are taking over, served other gods. You shall destroy their altars, break up their memorial stones, burn down their sacred trees, cut down the images of their gods, and you shall obliterate their gods from that place.

"Then, from among all your tribes, God will choose a place to give God's Name habitation. When you search for the manifestation of God's Presence, you will come to this place that God chooses. It is there that you will bring offerings and donations. There, before God, shall you eat with family and servants and the Levites, who have no portion or inheritance. All will rejoice before God.

"Take care to make offerings only in the place where the Lord chooses. But whenever you desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in any of your settlements, according to the blessing that the Lord God has granted you, but you must not partake of the blood. You shall pour blood out on the ground like water.

"You must not eat your tithes of new grain or wine or oil or the firstlings of your flocks or any of your offerings. These you and your household must consume before the Lord your God in the place that the Lord your God will choose.

"Take heed that you do not follow the lead of the nations who once dwelled in your land. Do not inquire about their gods or how to serve them. For everything that is detested by God, everything God hates, have they done. For they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire for their gods.

"Do not add or subtract from these commandments. If there arises among you a prophet or receiver of dreams, and if he gives you a sign and that sign comes to pass, and if he then says, 'Let us go after other gods and serve them,' stop. Do not hearken to that person's words, because God is testing you with this to know whether you truly love your God with all your heart and all your soul. You shall only follow and fear your God.

"Then the receiver of dreams shall be put to death, for he has uttered untruth concerning God, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery. Do not listen to anyone, family or friend, who urges you to follow other gods. Rather you, yourself, must bring him to death for leading you away from God.

"You are the sons of God, your God, so do not cut yourselves nor shave your heads in mourning.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.