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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"You shall not eat anything abhorrent. You may eat any animal that has true hoofs that are cleft in two and brings up the cud, like sheep, goats and oxen. Those with a cleft hoof, you may not eat, like camel and rabbits. Also the pig, for though it has true hoofs it does not bring up its cud, so it is unclean.

"Of all that live in the water, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. You may eat any clean bird. You may not eat the eagle, the vulture, raven hawks, owls, storks and bats among others. All winged swarming things are unclean for you. You shall not eat anything that has died a natural death--give it to the stranger in your community to eat or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people consecrated to the Lord your God.

"You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk. You shall set aside every year a tenth part of all the yield from your produce. Every third year, you shall have a full tithe on your field and leave it within your settlements. During that time the Levite who has no hereditary portion, and the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your settlements shall come and eat their fill, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your enterprises.

"Every seventh year, you shall practice a release. Every kinsman creditor shall release from his hand his debt. The debtor may no longer claim payment because of this release for the sake of God. In the promised land, you shall open up your hand to the needy and lend him what is sufficient for his need, for what he lacks.

"You shall free your Hebrew slave in the seventh year. Do not send him away to freedom empty handed, but provide for him out of your flock and your wine press, that which your God has blessed for you. Remember that you were once a slave in Egypt when God redeemed you. If, however, the slave wants to stay, then he may do so as a bondsman or handmaid.

"Remember to make the offerings of the firstlings and make sacrifices to God with clean animals, those which are neither lame nor blind or blemished. Keep the Pesach offering to God, your God; for that is the eternal reminder of the time when God took you out of slavery to freedom. You shall only eat unleavened bread for seven days in this memory of our God-given exodus. There shall be a Sabbath on the seventh day of this Passover holiday.

"Then, count seven weeks, and you shall come to the Festival of Weeks. Then you shall give a gift of your hand to God, such that God will bless you and you shall rejoice before the Lord. You will rejoice with your family and servants, with the Levites, with stranger, orphan and widow in your midst. You will come in the place that God will choose to give God's presence.

"Then in the Festival of huts, You shall make huts and celebrate before God for all the produce, all the harvests, in all the work of your hands.

"Three times each year shall all your males appear in the immediate Presence of your God, in the place that God will choose: on the Festival of Matzah, on the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Huts. He shall not appear in the immediate Presence of God empty-handed. Every person must give according to the gift of his hand, in accordance with the blessing of God, your God, that God has given you.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

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