Friday, 5 September 2008

Shoftim: The False Prophet

Originally published 9/5/08, 9:57 AM.
From the archives of Nishma's Online Library at, we have chosen an article that relates to the week's parsha, both to direct you to this dvar Torah but also for the purposes of initiating some discussion.

This week's parsha is Shoftim and the topic is the the navi sheker, the false prophet. The issue is not solely the person who lies about speaking in the name of God but the issue is also the message. The issue concerns any distortion of Torah. We invite you to look at an article on this topic at


Stephanie B said...

As someone in the process of converting, I always find it interesting how Jews attempt to discuss issues of non-Jews in some authoritative manner with no real concept of being in the others shoes (rarely is the reverse done, and for good reason).

Palin's daughter's pregnancy doesn't say anything about her parenting anymore than would be the case if Palin was Jewish. You can do only so much for your children, but at the end of the day, children have their own minds and will do their own actions.

Thankfully, her daughter is doing the responsible thing in getting married and keeping her child. But that she had premarital sex is just a factor of our present, secular society in general. I know just as many Jews (both religious and secular) who engage in pre-marital sex so it's not so much a religious issue as it is a societal one.

While I appreciate the Noahide analogy, I just find it a bit unnerving when one group attempts to explain actions of another. You can try to instill Catholic values to your child (just as Jewish) and that doesn't mean your child will be perfect. If that was the case, then given the numbers of Americans that deem themselves to be religious, society would have few social ills that currently exist.

My two cents for the day, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your definition of navi as a promoter of mitzvot and navi sheker as someone who discouarges the performance of mitzvot bears little resemblance to the testimony of neviim. The very opening chapter of Yoshiah has God himself telling Am Yisrael; I hate your sacrifices; your sabbaths, fasts, and festivals are a burden to me. Again and again the neviim stress gemilut hasadim while often denigrating what most people understand as mitzvot: ritual obligation and the observance of hukkim. Conversely, the nevie sheker emphasize the importance of ritual observance over humanistic concerns. These people say: "the temple of God, the temple of God, the temple of God". Though the Neviim provide some the most pointed criticism for the stance of traditionalist Jews, it should probably not come as a surprise to me that in your estimation a true navi sounds remarkably like a sermonizing orthodox rabbi. Obviously, I read your writing in disbelief and with a huge amount of attitude. But i what I find most disturbing is that even though the period of prophecy is over and no one in our time seriously claims prophecy, you have gone out of your way to cast your ideological opponents into the category of a capital crime. Increasingly, it seems to me that those who commit themselves to mitzvot are more susceptible to a condition described by the navi Hoshea: having a heart like an oven.