Re’ah – Torah Themes

Parshas Re’ah


Hashem’s Children


One of the most complimentary phrases which is used in reference to the relationship between Hashem and the Jews is that we are Hashem’s children. In Egypt, Hashem commanded Moshe to tell Pharaoh (Shemos 4:22), “the Jews are my first born son.” In our parsha, Hashem commanded the Jews not to mourn in the extreme ways of the gentiles (Devarim 14:1), “You are sons to Hashem (ה-ו-ה-י) your God…”


Yalkut Reuveni quotes the Zohar that extrapolates on this relationship. It comments that between man, woman, son and daughter you find the name Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey. What does this mean?


The Zohar there also states: B’ni, chayi u’mizoni, children, life and food all come from Hashem and are represented by the 4 letter name of Hashem. Children come from Yud-Hey, life comes from the Vav and food comes from the Hey, which stands for ‘hamotzei lechem min ha’aretz, He (Hashem) brings forth bread from the earth.’ What is being said here?


Complete Family


The very first mitzvah in the Torah is pru u’rivu, to procreate. Our job is to put in the effort, but the result is only in Hashem’s hands to provide. We poskin that to fulfill this command one must have one son and one daughter. One who procreates is called in the Gemara (Yevamos 63a) as one who increases Hashem’s presence, whereas, one who purposefully does not procreate is called: a diminisher of Hashem’s presence on earth.


Our job as humans is to bring about an awareness of Hashem’s presence. That is our mission. When we fulfill this mission we have bridged olam hazeh and olam habah.


Hence, having children is represented by the YudHey, the letters which correspond to olam hazeh (Hey) and olam haba (Yud) as the Gemara explains (Menachos 29b): Hashem created the world with a yud and a hey, b’yah (ה-י) Hashem tzur olamim.” The letter hey is olam hazeh, and the letter yud is olam haba.


The letter vav is a letter of connection. True life, which is said to emanate from this letter, comes from Hashem Alone and life is defined as connection with Hashem. The letter Hey at the end of the Name represents earth, the place where Hashem’s kingship is celebrated and shown to be present. ‘There is no king without a nation’ and thus Hashem has entrusted us with the goal of brining out his name in this world by recognizing how he provides children, life and food to us every moment.


First Born Status


Going back to the verse in Shemos which describes the Jews as Hashem’s first born. What is that hinting to? The Midrash in Bo says that just as the bechor, first born, gets pi shnayim, a double portion, so too the Jews get a double portion. Hashem has given them olam hazeh and olam habah!


The family unit of man, woman, son and daughter thus bring together all the aspects of children (Yud-Hey), life (Vav) and sustenance (Hey). This is the place where Hashem’s presence is invited to dwell.

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