22 August 2014

Parshat Re'eh: Of false prophets and idolaters

26 Menachem Av
Erev Shabbat Kodesh

The Midrash Says on Parshat Re'eh:

...Moshe explained to the Jews: "Eretz Canaan is full of objects pertaining to idol worship. You cannot build a Land of holiness, with a Beit Hamikdash in its midst, while surrounded by the artifacts of idolatry." 

"Eliminate everything associated with idolatry - such as altars, stones, or trees - by whatever method is most effective. Demolish them, burn them, or cast them into the sea. Leave no trace of idolatry! If a place was named after idols, change its name."

While it is a mitzvah to eliminate idols in any country (where Jews have the legal power to do so), in Eretz Yisrael the obligation goes further: The Jews are required not only to destroy all known idols, but must search for and demolish all the hidden ones as well.

The Torah repeatedly emphasizes that idolatry is the severest of sins. There could be no greater audacity than using one's intellect, which is capable of inferring the presence of the Creator, to deny G-d's uniqueness and attribute the vast intelligence that obviously activates all of creation to powers other than Him [even another human being.]

...The Torah declares that besides the inherent evil of worshiping idols, G-d hates the wicked rites of the idolaters. A Jew must therefore distance himself from all idolatrous practices.

...Moshe warned the Jews, "If any 'prophet' - whether Jewish or otherwise - ever arises in your midst and claims that a deity other than Hashem gave him a prophetic message, or even claims that Hashem Himself ordered the permanent abrogation of any mitzva of the Torah, know that he is an imposter. ...Do not attribute any truth to his words, even if he performs wonders in heaven or on earth. [Even if he says he is here to "stand with Israel."] ...G-d is testing your loyalty to Him. 

...The Torah enacts very strict laws against a maisis, a (Jewish) "instigator" or "missionary" who attempts to persuade our people to accept strange gods.

He is not included in the law of "loving a fellow Jew." Rather, it is a mitzva to hate him, in accordance with "Hashem, do I not hate those who hate You?" (Tehillim 39.21) He may also not be judged favorably, not treated mercifully, and in his case, Beit Din is exempt from its usual obligation to find exonerating factors for someone condemned to death.

...Rambam comments, "By not favoring a rasha and not covering up for him, we bring peace upon the Jewish people."

Even if you want to say that xianity is allowed to the gentiles - it is NOT ALLOWED to gentiles in Eretz Yisrael!! And even if you believe that they have "pure" motives, we are forbidden to allow them to perform xian worship on holy soil. How much more so to invite them to do so and to participate in it or even observe it!

In Sefer HaMitzvot it is written, "
It is a negative commandment 213 not to turn astray after idol-worship, neither in thought nor in word, nor even by watching."

Sefer HaChinuch Negative Commandment 426 - "show no mercy to idol-worshippers (we should have no kind feelings for those who worship idols, and nothing about them should be good or pleasing in our eyes; in other words,
we should remove far from our mind, and it should not [ever] arise in our speech, that there could be anything of value in one who worships in idolatry, and he should find no grace or favor in our eyes)

I've said this before, but it's worth saying again and again and again if I can get this idea across. The extent to which this sounds harsh or extreme to you is the extent to which you have assimilated Western values which stand in contradiction to Torah law.

Hashem says His thoughts are above our thoughts. It's up to us to align ourselves with the Torah and not to try to change it to fit "the times." We've become too complacent about this matter and too accepting of xianity even to the point of denying that is even idolatry. 

~Shabbat shalom~