923 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403

Parshat Ki Tavo: Eyes to See – September 1, 2023

Deuteronomy 29:3

וְלֹא־נָתַן֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה לָכֶ֥ם לֵב֙ לָדַ֔עַת וְעֵינַ֥יִם לִרְא֖וֹת וְאזְנַ֣יִם לִשְׁמֹ֑עַ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a mind to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

I’m not a particularly visual person. To the frustration of my wife there are many times when I am looking for something and I ask her to help me find it, only for her to point out – again – that it is right in front of me.  I believe I’m not alone. There are many of us who can’t see what’s right before our eyes. In my case, it may be through a lack of effort (yes, I’m working on this). I could look harder, a third or fourth time, before requesting assistance. Though there are other reasons that keep us from seeing what’s right in front of us.

Take Hagar in Genesis 21. She finds herself cast out of Abraham and Sarah’s house and dejected. As she wanders in the desert with her son Ishmae, she truly believed her son was going to die from dehydration. So, she put him under a bush for shade and cried. An angel came to her to tell her that the boy will not only live, but thrive. At that moment, Hagar raised her eyes and saw that there was a well of water near her this entire time.  While fear and resignation filled Hagar’s heart, she could not see the well. Though her eyes were open, it was only when the angel gave her hope that could truly see. For us too, there may be possibilities and blessings around us that we are blind to. Our assumptions about who we are, what the world can offer, our own fears or frustrations keep us from truly seeing. I know I sometimes need help seeing what’s right in front of me. Hagar needed help too. When we comfort the bereaved, uplift a friend who is feeling low, give of our time or resources to those who need it, we do more than a good deed. We give them the gift of sight, eyes that can see that can see blessings and possibilities that they could not see before.

Office Hours

B’nai Zion Congregation
923 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(enter parking lot from Oak Street)

Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Please call ahead to confirm someone will be in the office when you arrive!


Rabbi Samuel Rotenberg: rabbirotenberg@bzcongregation.com

Autumn Clark, Office Manager: office@bzcongregation.com

Phone: 423.894.8900

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