The Power of One

Tomorrow’s ‘Parashah’ (weekly Torah portion) is ‘Re’eh’ (Hebrew for ‘see’). This is the fourth ‘Parashah’ in the Book of Deuteronomy and can be found in Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17. The opening verse of the weekly Torah portion is the following:

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.”(Deuteronomy 11:26)

When reading this verse in the original Hebrew, one can notice that the opening word ‘Re’eh’ {ראה} (‘see’) is written in the singular form while the continuation of this verse ‘Le-F’nechem’ {לפניכם} (‘before you’) appears in a plural form.

Some of the Jewish Bible commentators have suggested a couple of explanations for this grammatical phenomenon. The following explanation is one of the most interesting ones. The old Jewish Sages said that: “A man should always regard himself as though he were half guilty and half meritorious: if he performs one precept, happy is he for weighting himself down in the scale of merit; if he commits one transgression, woe to him for weighting himself down in the scale of guilt, for it is said, but one sinner destroyed much good.”

Therefore the Bible speaks to each and every one – in a singular form ‘Re’eh’ (‘see’) – because every person has the possibility of choosing between good (‘blessings’) and evil (‘curses’) and by doing that, should keep in mind that his/her actions can influence the ENTIRE society.