Unfortunately, too many of us have met “those kinds” of people.

On the outside, they act so perfectly pious and ultra-religious, as icons of faith and faultlessness. But once you get to know them, you realize that their purportedly high ideals are downright distortions and their actions can be cruel and uncaring.

They give a bad rap to religion and faith. In fact, they may even vindicate their upside down ethics or justify their callous behavior by claiming it all in the name of G‑d, when in truth it is the greatest form of idol worship.

The damage they cause is deep.

The judgmental attitudes of these supposed agents of G‑d make us want to stay far away from anything that they embody. Out of anger or hurt, we may even decide, on some level or in some variation, if this is Judaism, if this is its G‑d, I want out!

Though these people really don’t represent anything but their own human failings, too often, we allow them to affect our own choices in our relationship with G‑d.

There’s a fascinating exchange in this week’s Torah portion when Moses offers words of comfort after reprimanding the Jewish people. He tells them of a time in the distant future when they will be scattered in exile and serving idols that are “the handiwork of man.” Nevertheless, even in such a state, if they seek G‑d, He will welcome them.

And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will remain few in number among the nations to where the L‑rd will lead you.

And there you will worship gods, man's handiwork, wood and stone, which neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. And from there you will seek the L‑rd, your G‑d, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

When you are distressed, and all these things happen upon you in the end of days, then you will return to the L‑rd, your G‑d, and obey Him.

For the L‑rd, your G‑d, is a merciful God; He will not let you lose or destroy you; neither will He forget the covenant of your fathers, which He swore to them. (Deut. 4:27-31)

The Baal Shem Tov comments: The Torah stresses that when you seek G‑d from there, from your place of exile “among the nations,” you will find Him. For G‑d is to be found everywhere, and every corner of His creation can serve as the vehicle to reach Him.

We can allow the negative behavior of others to affect us. We can look at their “idolatrous handiwork” and decide that they represent a religion or a G‑d that we want no part of. Or, we can search for G‑d even in our distant state, even in our faraway land and seek out His truth, and He will welcome us with open arms.

Recently, someone affected by the behavior of a hypocritical individual cynically said to me, “With so-called religious people acting in such despicable ways, don’t you think you’re going to have to find yourself another religion?”

My response was, “It’s sad enough that there may be people who act so destructively, perhaps due to their own faulty upbringing or personal life circumstances. And it’s even more tragic that they distance people through their behaviors.

“They hijack religion or faith, distorting truth with their lies and replacing G‑d with their idolatry. They give everything that I hold so dear a bad reputation.

“But there is one thing that that they cannot do. They cannot take away from me my most valuable treasure.

“They cannot diminish my faith and my Judaism. And they cannot rob me of my precious relationship with my G‑d. “

“They cannot stop any of us from this: Seek the L‑rd, your G‑d, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. “