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L’Chaim – Choose Life!

Parashah – Re’eh (See) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26 –16:17 begins with the following verse:

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse

 רְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָה.

I have several aquariums. In one of my aquariums I noticed that there was a fish with a huge hole in his side that was so deep that it had exposed its digestive organs. From my research I determined that this fish was infected with a parasite. A parasite that had the real potential to infect the entire tank.

So I had to make a decision to choose between life ( A Blessing) or death (A Curse.) I could simply remove the infected fish and flush it down the toilet which would be a cruel death as well as being inhumane or I could “choose life”, which required that I would do what ever I could to preserve the life of my sick fish.

The requirements for choosing life were: Going to the pet store, buying a tank and medicine. And then setting up a fish hospital which meant finding a place for the new tank, removing the infected fish from the aquarium, and then caring for this fish until it got better. After four days that HUGE HOLE began to disappear, which meant that my fish was in the process of being restored to health. Two weeks later the fish was healed. Subsequently he was returned to the tank to rejoin his brothers and sisters. (All the fish except for the parents were born in that aquarium.)

The above true story is a metaphor for restoring and healing broken relationships. Many people are walking around with deep wounds and open sores that have the potential or have infected their friends and family. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to not be bothered and “choose death” by flushing these troublesome relationships down the toilet.

But as ministers of reconciliation – Yeshua has appointed us to “choose life” and care for the wounded and infected so that our broken relationships would be restored and transformed into healthy relationships.

As it is written:
Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation — the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new! 18 And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation.– 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a

לָכֵן מִי שֶׁהוּא בַמָּשִׁיחַ בְּרִיָּה חֲדָשָׁה הוּא הָרִאשׁׂנוֹת עָבָרוּ הִנֵּה (הַכּׂל) נַעֲשׂוֹוֹ חֲדָשׁוֹת׃ וְהַכּׂל מֵאֵת הָאֱלׂהִים הַמְרַצֶּה אׂתָנוּ לְעַצְמוֹ עַל־יְדֵי יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ וַיִּתֶּן־לָנוּ שֵׁרוּת הָרִצּוּי׃

My Brothers and Sisters – In all of your relationships “choose life” because this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua concerning You!

Yosef Koelner
Yosef Koelner was born in Chicago and raised in a Jewish home that his parents characterized as “Orthodox”. At birth he was given two first names, an English one, Harvey, and a Hebrew name, Yosef, which was given to him in remembrance of his mother’s deceased brother, Chaim Yosef. Rabbi Yosef’s education includes but is not limited to a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Illinois State University and a MA in Jewish Studies from Gratz College as well as a Doctor of Practical Ministry from Wagner Leadership Institute. He also graduated from Ulpan Alef (Hebrew language studies) Katsrin, Israel. Additional studies include The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and an Orthodox Yeshivah in Tzfat Yisrael. His ministry spans four decades and he is currently the Rabbi of Kehilat Bet Avinu. He can be contacted at

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