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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Re'e


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"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.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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