Re’eh means “See!” as in the opening verse of our Torah reading: “See! I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse.”

What, exactly, is the Torah demanding in asking us to “see” G‑d’s blessings and curses?

Broadly speaking, a person’s observance of the precepts of Judaism could fall into one of three categories:

  1. Plain obedience. At this level, a person is willing to observe the precepts of the Torah because he is aware of a higher authority. However, his observance is not inspired by an understanding or appreciation of the Torah; he simply “accepts the yoke of heaven.”

  2. Intellectual appreciation. A higher level is where a person not only observes the precepts of the Torah out of deference to a higher authority, but also has an intellectual appreciation of the importance of observing the precepts, and understands the rewards that mitzvah-observance brings.

    However, even this person has not yet reached perfection. For intellectual conviction alone—while immensely powerful—still leaves room to explore other avenues, so it does not represent an absolute commitment.

    Thus, the highest level of mitzvah observance is:

  3. Vision. At this level, one does not merely appreciate the value of keeping the Torah’s precepts, one sees it. Meaning that the necessity and positive results of observing the mitzvahs become as clear and self-evident as seeing a physical object with one’s eyes.

And it is this third level which our Torah commands—and spiritually empowers—every Jew to reach, with the words: “See! I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse.”1