Why does the Torah command us to kill a navi sheker (false prophet)? Shouldn't we attempt to find help for the fellow by directing him to seek psychiatric help?

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    How do we know a navi sheker is mentally unwell? I'm sure that there's room to be meikil in our days, when most are, as we are meikil by a suicide (chas veshalom) – Noach MiFrankfurt Nov 8 '16 at 14:36
  • this is 2 separate questions -- the second one might not be related to Judaism unless our court theocratic court system generally does not punish crimes but instead attempts psychiatric rehabilitation (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8231695). Otherwise, crime is crime . – rosends Nov 8 '16 at 15:02
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    can ask this for a rapist or murderer also? – ray Nov 11 '16 at 9:45
  1. See Sefer Hachinuch 517:

    כי האיש הזה באמרו שהוא נביא ונצטוה בזה, ונראה דבריו מתקימין כדברי נביאי האמת, נחזיק אותו כאיש אלקים, קדוש, שליח האל, ונאמין אליו ונקח ראיה בכל הנהגותינו ממעשיו, ואולי אחר שאין זכותו וענינו גדול להיות הוא שליח באותה נבואה שאמר איננו ראוי לסמך בו בכל אשר יעשה ויאמר, ויטעה ההמון בלכתם אחר עצתו. ‏

    People may err and believe that this man is near to Hashem, believing him and learning from him.

  2. "Forensic psychiatry speaking", the Sanhedrin never put to death someone who was not in correct mental state at the time of offense or someone with no competency to stand trial. If he believes by mistake that he is a true prophet, he would not be killed. To kill someone you need to know that he is mezid and sane. Insane is called Shote. If he is not Shote but is doing a mistake he is Shogeg st least.

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    Your answer could be improved by citing a source for #2 – Lee Nov 8 '16 at 15:30

In this particular case, we are told explicitly in the Torah of Moshe, Devarim 13:1-6, that such a person is sent directly by G-d (they are moshiach HaShem, one of G-d's anointed, so to speak) for the purpose of testing us to see if we love HaShem with all our heart and soul and follow Him alone, fulfilling His commandments and not transgressing them.

Sforno explains that the goal of the false prophet is to convince the Jewish people to stop following G-d's commandments. That is what is meant by דבר-סרה mentioned in the sixth posuk.

And Moshe tells us that the way that we demonstrate that we have passed His test is not to listen to the false prophet, nor to follow his directives and to remove him (execute him) and remove his teachings from our midst.

In other words, it is an actual mitzvah to execute such a person, just like it is a mitzvah to put on tefillin or not to stand idly by when your brothers blood is being shed.

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    that such a person is sent directly by G-d The Torah doesn't say that he is directly sent, although depending on what you mean by that, it may be true. || (they are moshiach HaShem, one of G-d's anointed That is a bizarre and unfounded claim. || The Seforno is irrelevant. He is (presumably) talking about a lucid person, with an agenda. The OP is asking how we know that we are indeed dealing with a lucid person with an agenda, rather than a mentally disturbed individual. || Your penultimate paragraph is similarly irrelevant as it assumes its own conclusion; that we are dealing [cont.] – mevaqesh Nov 8 '16 at 23:50
  • [cont.] with someone who is out to pervert the Jewish faith, rather than a mentally ill person. || Your last paragraph is similarly irrelevant. The OP isn't asking whether capital punishment is justified. Rather he is assuming that the character in question is mentally ill, and hence not liable. You have completely failed to even remotely address his question. – mevaqesh Nov 8 '16 at 23:50

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