The Irreversible, Ironclad Deal
In Va'etchanan, when Moshe is retelling the episode of Matan Torah, this "conversation" between Moshe and the people is found in much greater detail. Essentially, it is the same deal that the People are offering to Moshe (and to G-d). You, Moshe, speak to us, not G-d. And we will do what you tell us He tells you to tell us. And in Va'etchanan, the Torah tells us that G-d approved of the offer. He accepted the deal, so to speak.
In R'ei, we find the first potential problem with the "deal" - namely, NAVI SHEKER, false prophet. One can assume that direct communication from G-d will be incontrovertible. With Moshe Rabeinu, also no problem. But prophets that announced themselves to the Jewish People in later generations, there is room to question their authenticity. So the Torah must set down the rules of recognizing and dealing with false prophets. Not an easy situation, but a necessary byproduct of the deal with G-d to let a prophet speak on His behalf.
Next comes this week's sedra of Sho- f'tim. It addresses three different authority figures in Jewish Life: Judges (Sanhedrin), Kings, and Prophets.
Concerning prophets, the Torah expands on the rules introduced in R'ei and includes the command to listen to a true prophet, further tips (so to speak) on recognizing a prophet who does not speak in G-d's name, and the prohibition of over-testing a prophet.
Sanhedrin and halachic authorities are spokesmen of sorts for G-d, different from prophets, but very significant in what they are empowered to teach us. Kings are powerful authority figures of a different sort. And we have also been warned about the Enticer to idolatry, and - in this week's sedra, about practicing the Black Arts. It is a complex deal, but one we must take seriously.