Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Re'e
To dedicate this lesson



Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Av 25 5777
"And that prophet & dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, for he has spoken perversely against Hashem ­ who took you out of Egypt ­ to make you stray from the path on which G-d commanded you to go." (13:6).

Our Sedra discusses the false prophet who - despite his ability to somehow predict the future or even perform a "miracle" - is executed if he entices the nation to go against the will of Hashem & deviate from the Torah.

But something here is a bit perplexing: Why specifically in this instance is Hashem referred to as "the G-d who took you out of Egypt?" What does that particular quality have to do with the "perverse" designs of the false prophet, the Navi Sheker?

I suggest that the Torah is painting the "big picture" for us, the grand world-view. It begins with our liberation from Egypt. G-d set us on a path to our final destiny, on a road that would take us to many places, to every corner of the Earth, where we would experience all the highs & lows of history. We would excel in many of the nations we visited on our journey - generally bringing blessing to them; but we would also be subject to fierce oppression & rejection, with every possible trial & tribulation cast upon us.

We would continually be thrown back on the path, because it was never G-d’s plan that we stay too long on the "way-stations" we encountered. Our "mode of travel" was Halacha, & it would guarantee our survival through the most treacherous terrain. But Halacha was NOT ever the final goal; it was the driver, not the destination. That designation, as Ramban and other sages taught us, was reserved for Israel, & only Israel.

Along the way, we would meet many false prophets. They would tell us that we were meant to remain indefinitely in the Exile, that G-d preferred that we roam about forever, until some magical moment occurred to change everything.
They would preach that Israel was an elusive dream, a fanciful rhetoric, but not a viable reality. Many of these false prophets would be highly gifted & persuasive purveyors of perverse propaganda. It would take immense courage & faith to stay on course, to ignore all the nay-sayers & remain fixated on the mission, on the goal. We would have to "put to death" all the false pronouncements that distracted us from our epic struggle & our rightful return to our own Land.

The struggle continues to this very day; the challenge, in fact, is greater than ever. As Israel grows larger, stronger, so do the voices of negativity trying to suppress the Jewish People’s will & divert us from our course. But for
the wise, the path is still the path - present & future.
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