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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



The commandment sounds very logical. After all, if someone were to prophesy incorrectly in the name of G-d at all, you would expect that prophecy not to come true. It’s like telling someone not to fly. A person can try so hard, eventually gravity will pull him down.

Yet we are warned about them for a reason, indeed there are plenty of examples from (even near) history that show us that such false prophets exist.

To my complete surprise, not even that long ago, a lady was here in the Netherlands. She may not call herself a prophet[1], but through her miracles and signs she did tempt people into idolatry.

With a little searching on the internet, you soon come across several contemporary prophets, especially in Africa[2], who tempt people with – so-called – miracles and signs into idolatry.

That’s the problem with a false prophet – supposedly speaking in the name of an idol – that people start serving that idol.

But seriously, how bad is it when someone says he is a prophet of G-d and through miracles and signs tempts people to tamper with G-d’s Torah. By adding commandments or declaring commandments (temporarily) invalid.

The Divine Code [3] states as follows:

If anyone comes to convince individuals or a community – by influencing, or with intellectual arguments, or by demonstrating supernatural powers or the like, or with false claims to be a prophet – to serve idols, or to nullify one of the Seven Noahide Commandments, or to add a commandment (in addition to the Seven Noahide Commandments transmitted by Moses), even if he says that G-d commanded that his should be done, it is forbidden to listen to him or to accept his words. All are obligated to remove and silence him y any necessary means.

Many of the miracles and signs done by false prophets are normal magic tricks that anyone can learn.

Bur are there really people who can do miracles and signs? We read in Deutr. 13:2

“If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a miracle.”

Rashi notes that a “sign” means that the false prophet says that an angel has spoken to him, and/or that he is written in the stars.  (Which reminds me of astrology) And a miracle is an event that happens on earth. Think of someone saying it will not rain except in place a.

Text in Deutr. shows that it occurs that people have the power to do miracles and sings and that we are warned about it.

This leads to the question of why G-d allows people to use miracles and signs for this purpose.

We see the answer in the succeeding verse 4:

לֹ֣א תִשְׁמַ֗ע אֶל־דִּבְרֵי֙ הַנָּבִ֣יא הַה֔וּא א֛וֹ אֶל־חוֹלֵ֥ם הַחֲל֖וֹם הַה֑וּא כִּ֣י מְנַסֶּ֞ה ה’ אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם לָדַ֗עַת הֲיִשְׁכֶ֤ם אֹֽהֲבִים֙ אֶת־ ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֔ם בְּכׇל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וּבְכׇל־נַפְשְׁכֶֽם׃

do not heed the words of that prophet or that dream-diviner. For your God יהוה is testing you to see whether you really love your God יהוה with all your heart and soul.

It is so that people who love G-d and want to follow Him can consciously make that choice for Him. And not choose something or someone else who also seems great. A choice is only possible if the choice “seems equal”.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] She may not call herself a prophet – Note! It has been added, but know that, as it says in the Divine Code, it is forbidden to listen to!

[2] prophets, especially in Africa – Note! It has been added, but know that, as it says in the Divine Code, it is forbidden to listen to!

[3] The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner 4e edition p. 51

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