Re’eh – the Power of Seeing the Blessings

Re’eh – the Power of Seeing the Blessings

The Torah portion Re’eh, begins with the verse:

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. (Deut. 11:26)

The first word of this verse, re’eh, literally means “see” in Hebrew. So, literally, this verse should be translated as:

See, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse

Why did Moses implore people to see, as he was about to set before them a blessing and a curse?

To understand this, we need to look at the following verses defining the blessing and the cure:

The blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God… (Deut. 11:27)

…and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God… (Deut. 11:28)

Does this remind you the setup of the Schrödinger cat experiment, “if the radioactive atom decays… and if the radioactive atom does not decay…”? In both instances, we are dealing with the quantum superposition—in the case of the Schrödinger cat literally, in here figuratively. The future is undetermined; it is in the state of superposition of all possible outcomes. In this case, it is in the state of superposition of blessing, if the Children of Israel head to Divine commandments, and the opposite of blessing if they don’t.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, once said: “the knowledge of the observer creates the reality in the object.” [Likuutei Sichos Vol. 28, top of page 63]

This statement is very much in line with the modern understanding of quantum mechanics. In 1932, the Jewish-Hungarian polymath John Von Neumann made a startling suggestion that it must be a conscious observer who causes the wavefunction to collapse. Later, the great American physicist John Archibald Wheeler said that quantum observer is a “participating observer” who creates the reality by the act of observation. In other words, we are not passive observers; we are participating observers—our seeing is what collapses the wavefunction and creates the reality.

Now we can understand the meaning of the preamble, re’eh – “see.” Moses informs us that the future is in our hand, as we create the reality by seeing into being. He teaches us to see the reality the right way, to collapse the wavefunction “the right way” so that we get the blessings and not the opposite. In essence, we create our blessings by seeing the world with the right eye, i.e., with the right attitude— positively. Perhaps, this is the meaning of the Yiddish expression, “trach gut, zol zain gut!” – think well, and it shall be well.

May we be blessed with the “right eye” to be able to see the reality into a blessing!

Shavua Tov and Chodesh Tov! As it is customary to wish each other in Elul, ktiva v’chatimah tovah leShanah tovah u’metukah—may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a Happy, Healthy and sweet New Year!

 

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About the Author:

Alexander Poltorak was trained as a theoretical physicist in Russia. He is Chairman and CEO of General Patent Corporation. Dr. Poltorak served as an Assistant Professor of Biomathematics at Cornell University Medical College, as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Touro College, he guest-lectured at Columbia University School of Engineering and Business School. He is presently affiliated with the CUNY serving as an adjunct professor of physics at the City College of New York and Research Fellow at the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers. Alex Poltorak authored several books and many articles. He blogs about physics, kabbalah and Jewish philosophy.

4 Comments

  1. Rachel August 12, 2018 at 6:20 am - Reply

    correction: And the curse if you shall NOT hearken…

    • Alexander Poltorak August 12, 2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Thank you very much, Rachel, for catching a missing word — it got accidentally deleted during editing. I corrected it.

  2. Rachel-Leah August 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    just as in nature: a baby has the ability to “hear” first, before he/she has the ability to “see”, should we say the same is the case in the spiritual: a quantum seer comes after he/she hears.
    could it be that: should there be no “hearing” first there would be no “seeing” with the “good eye” with which to create reality

    • Alexander Poltorak August 17, 2018 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Actually, it’s the other way around– the fetus develops vision already in utero when photoreceptors cells on the retina start firing sporadically developing neural circuits–pathways to the visual cortex located at the back of the brain. The window of neuroplasticity opens and closes for developing of vision before it opens for developing of hearing.

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