Parshas Re'eh is read on the Shabbos on which the month of Elul is blessed. Indeed, this year, Parshas Re'eh is read on the day preceding Rosh Chodesh Elul.
The Alter Rebbe describes (in Likkutei Torah, Re'eh, p. 32b), Elul as the month when "the king is in the field." "Anyone who so desires is granted permission [and can] approach him, and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all."
Elul is a time of Divine favor, a time when we can make requests of Him, and they will be granted.
Therefore, it is a time when Jews wish each other a kesivah v'chasimah tovah, that they be inscribed for a good and sweet year, including the ultimate expression of good, the coming of the Redemption, and the era when "those who repose in the dust will arise and sing." (Isaiah 26:19)
25 Menachem-Av, 5754
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1339ff;
Vol. XV, p. 44;
Sefer HaSichos 5750, p. 631ff;
Sefer Sichos 5751, p. 767ff;
Sichos Shabbos Parshas Re'eh, 5745
Our Sages state: 
"A witness may not serve as a judge." And they explain the rationale: "Once a person has seen [a crime] committed, he can never find justification for the perpetrator."
This teaches us that sight does more than convey information.
When a judge hears the details of a crime from witnesses, he can still think objectively about the matter and consider the merits of the defendant.
If, however, he has seen the crime perpetrated himself, he will be so deeply affected that he cannot withdraw and contemplate the matter without bias.
Seeing and hearing operate differently.
When a person sees an event or an object, it penetrates deeper than his conscious mind, establishing an inner connection.
The impression created remains with him, constantly strong and powerful.
When, by contrast, he hears about the matter, even if his source is reliable, such a connection is not established, and his conception of the matter is intellectual alone. Therefore, he can weigh it back and forth and see other perspectives.
There is another difference between these two senses:
When we see an object or an event, we grasp it in its totality, and only afterwards, do we focus on the particulars. When we hear, by contrast, we begin with the particulars and work toward the comprehension of the entire picture.
These two points are interrelated:
Because one sees the entity in its totality, it penetrates deeper. And conversely, when all the information one receives is particulars, it is far easier for them to be offset by other points of information.
These concepts are relevant with regard to this week's Torah reading, Parshas Re'eh which begins: 
"See that I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse."
The portion continues to allude to the principles of free choice and reward and punishment:  "The blessing [will come] if you obey the commandments... and the curse [will come] if you do not heed... and go astray from the path which I have commanded."
Moshe is telling the people that their observance of G-d's commandments will not be a spontaneous response. Instead, they will be required to make a conscious choice.
Why does G-d grant man choice? To elevate him to a higher plane of Divine service. 
Were man's choice between good and evil to come naturally, he would not have any sense of accomplishment. What would he have earned?
For this reason, at every stage of his spiritual progress, man is confronted with challenges which he must overcome on his own initiative. 
By nature, evil has no substance, and as darkness is repelled by light, evil would be subdued by the power of holiness.
Nevertheless, in order to allow for free choice, evil is granted the power to present a obstacle to the forces of holiness.
Indeed, the forces of evil are granted sufficient strength to parallel even the highest spiritual levels.
For this reason, we see that at times, man is motivated by a desire for material things which goes beyond his understanding, to the point that he is even willing to risk his life for these goals.
Nevertheless, these challenges have one purpose: that man face them and overcome them.
Through these endeavors, the good which man spreads within the world becomes his own doing. He is not merely a recipient of Divine favor; he makes a contribution of his own. 
On one hand, the challenges man confronts must be real.
If they do not require that he tap his inner resources of strength to overcome them, they do not grant him the opportunity to express these powers of achievement.
On the other hand, G-d does not want man to fail.
He invests within him the power to overcome the challenges he faces and aids him in this endeavor.
One of the means of empowerment is alluded to in the above verse: "See that I am placing before you...." G-d allows man to see the truth of "the blessing and of the curse." 
As explained at the outset, when something is seen, it is perceived in its entirety and a deep impression is made.
When man sees the nature of the good that he can achieve through positive choice, and when he sees that the entire reason evil has been given any substance is to allow him to make that choice, he will surely choose positively.
Alternatively, the word "see" can be interpreted as a command.
The objective of man's Divine service should be to labor to reach a state that he sees Divine purpose in his life.
When this purpose is "seen" and not merely comprehended intellectually, he will feel inspired to carry out his Divine service with increased vitality. Moreover, the word "see" can be interpreted as a promise that we will in fact reach this level of awareness.
The ultimate expression of the potential of sight will be in the Era of the Redemption with the fulfillment of the prophecy: 
"The glory of G-d will be revealed and all flesh will see."
In contrast to the present era, when we can see only material entities and G-dliness is perceived as an external force, in that future time, we will see directly how G-dliness is the truth of all existence.
Nor is this merely a promise of the distant future.
The Redemption is an imminent reality, so close to us that a foretaste of its revelations are possible at present.
Indeed, it is already possible to see  the manifestations of the blessings of the Redemption.
- (Back to text) Rosh HaShanah 26a.
- (Back to text) Deuteronomy 11:26.
- (Back to text) Ibid.:27-28.
- (Back to text) See also the essay "Choosing Our Mission" in this series which also touches on the concept of free choice.
- (Back to text) The importance of man's initiative reflects a connection to the monthly cycle of the Jewish year. Parshas Re'eh is read either on the Shabbos on which the month of Elul is blessed or on Rosh Chodesh Elul. The name Elul serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words Ani L'dodi V'dodi lee which mean "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine" (Song of Songs 6:3).
Our Rabbis (Or HaTorah, Parshas Re'eh, p. 791) interpret this phrase as indicating that man takes the initiative in establishing this bond of love. See the essay entitled, "The King in the Field," (Timeless Patterns in Time, Vol. II, p. 153ff).
- (Back to text) In this context, we can derive a concept from the verse cited above: "See that I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse." The Hebrew word nosen translated as "placing" has the implications of a generous gift (see Bava Basra 53a).
Seemingly, the possibility of "the curse" is the opposite of generosity. Based on the above, however, there is no difficulty. For the ultimate purpose of the possibility of a curse is that man reach more consummate achievement in the sphere of holiness.
- (Back to text) In this context, seeing helps prepare for man's Divine service.
- (Back to text) In this context, seeing comes as a result of man's Divine service.
- (Back to text) Isaiah 40:5.
- (Back to text) This also leads to another point. As mentioned, sight operates on a plane above intellectual comprehension. Often, we see things that we do not fully understand.
Similarly, in the context mentioned above, although signs of Mashiach's coming are visible, for certain individuals, the matter may still be beyond complete comprehension. This factor does not, however, detract from the truth of our perception.