Parshat Re’eih discusses the concept of a Navi Sheker, a false prophet. The Torah warns us to not be fooled or lured away from Hashem by a false prophet. We are commanded to disregard the person who claims that there is another god or who tries to change the Mitzvot, the commandments codified in the Torah. We are not even supposed to give such a prophet a chance; we should put him to death even if he performs miracles and makes accurate prophecies.
However, it is unclear exactly how to identify who is a false prophet, and to explain why Hashem would send them to our nation. To recognize who the false prophet truly is, we must refer back to Har Sinai, and reevaluate what actually occurred there. On the mountain, more than one million men and women witnessed Moshe receiving the Torah. These people were taught the words of Hashem by Moshe, and it is on the testimonies of over one million people that our religion stands. So, the wonders or teachings of a single person stand no chance against the revelation that was presented to an entire nation. Thus, it seems if a person delivers a message which directly contradicts the teachings of Hashem, he and his message should be dismissed.
Still, why would Hashem send us such a person, with whom Hashem runs the risk of losing members of His nation to a false belief? It seems that Hashem is simply testing us and our faith in Him. And if we do pass these tests, it is Hashem’s chance to prove that those who doubt our faith in Hashem are wrong. It is also clear that when we remain faithful and don’t submit to such prophets, we have withstood the persecution of the Christians and Muslims who maintain that our Torah is wrong or archaic. Some religions claim to believe in the authenticity of our Torah, yet also believe that the Torah, based on the word of a later prophet, no longer applies. However, this directly contradicts the Pesukim in Re’eih.
How is it possible that despite these Pesukim, Jews are attracted to other religions? It must be due to a through misunderstanding or a lack of exposure to the true meaning of the Torah. Therefore, it is our job to respond to such intellectual droughts by attacking them at their source. We, as religious and informed Jews, have to take it upon ourselves to grow in Torah knowledge and to support the teaching of Torah and spread our ideals to those who seem to be misinformed. If we are able to succeed in doing that, our nation will never again fall into the clutches of a false prophet.