Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
"There are so many powerful lessons for our lives in the first verse of this week's Torah portion." So said Dr. Yaakov Agatstein tonight on the occasion of his son Daniel's Bar MItzvah.
"Hundreds of times I heard Daniel practice this verse: 'Look I set before you today a blessing and a curse.' (Deuteronomy 11:26) Have you noticed how the verse begins? 'Look' (Re'eh) is in the singular. God is speaking personally to you. You alone are responsible for choosing correctly. From Bar Mitzvah age forward this is especially important: Don't wait for others and don't hold them responsible for what you do. You are already an adult.
Later in the verse the word 'today' appears. Why today? After all, this verse was spoken thousands of years ago. But every day this choice between a blessing and a curse is given to us. Each day we get a chance to start fresh, from the beginning. Today as well. 'Look I set before you today a blessing and a curse.'"
Mazel tov, Agatstein family, and thank you for making the choice to come on aliyah from Los Angeles to Jerusalem.