Monday, August 28, 2006

Authority of the Navi

“What makes prophecy so dangerous is its divine origin. The prophet does not inherit his role, nor is he appointed by the king or ordained by the rabbis; he is called by God – like Moses at the burning bush. There is no official mediation or control. Prophets often report their own calling and describe its circumstance, for this is the crucial source of their authority . . .
It is a disturbing feature of these discussions, especially for modern readers, that they focus so narrowly on the standing of the prophets, their legitimacy, as it were, and not on the specific content of their messages. When the kind’s counselors, known by their worldly wisdom rather than their divine calling, give advice about this or that policy matter, they no doubt raise similar questions about trustworthiness . . . , but what they explicitly invite is a debate about the advice itself. The prophets, by contrast, do not invite a debate of that sort. Indeed, if they have actually been sent by God, there is no room for any debate at all. The only way to challenge them is to call their credentials into question, not the content of their prophecies.”
(The Jewish Political Tradition: Volume I. Authority. Ed. Walzer et al. pp. 202-205)

This quote highlights what makes many of us uncomfortable with a system built on revelation note reason. We prefer to do things because they make sense to us, not because we were commanded to do so. This latter position, the position of the Modern, is probably best typified by Immanuel Kant, who writes that even if one experiences prophecy, if the directive does not fit with what he calls “the categorical imperative” (his equivalent of the Golden Rule), then to act on that prophecy is counter to man’s duty. In other words, even for the prophet – who presumably would be the most confident in the divine nature of the communication – prophecy does not automatically create authority. Any imperative, even if divine in origin, must be held up the light of reason.

What is the advantage – from Hashem’s perspective – of creating a system of communication based on revelation and not reason?
Why do you think Hashem chose to use revelation to a select few as the vehicle to commune with man? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to speak to the entire nation (as he did at the time of Matan Torah)?
Do you think it is possible to hear the word of God, recognize it as such, yet still ignore it?
Is it moral to “judge” God’s commands by an external human sense of right?


Blogger taliras said...

Hey, I get to be the first to post! How wierd is this that we're using the internet in a school related way? Anyyyyway, back to the question:
This actually reminds me a lot of my Bat-Mitzvah learning, which was about miracles. Basically, my question was why did HaShem stop doing obvious miracles, and my (extremely abbreviated) answer was because B'nei Yisrael started relying on miracles as proof of HaShem's existence, rather than validation of their beliefs. This is just another part of the give-take relationship that we have with God-we can't just expect to be given all the answers (Torah, "lo bashamayim he", Mishnah, Talmud, mepharshim) but God is out there. We just have to be willing to keep our eyes open and reason with our own cynicism, to find God in everything we do. It is our tendency, as cultured, priveleged, and intelligent upper-middle class teenagers, to be critical thinkers whose thoughts often end in doubt and skeptiscism of those answers and assumptions that require a leap of faith, and the inovlvement of something that is not tangible and material. However, even though there is so much intellectual fulfillment in Judaism, when it comes to HaShem, part of that intellectual fulfillment requires us to see God's hand. I truly believe that once someone has truly understood the word of God, and God's intentions, it is impossible to ignore them. Look at Yonah! Or better yet, look at reformed criminals or addicts, who a lot of times find religion and God as a way to start over. I can't back this up, but my guess would be that these born-again types are the least likely to relapse. There is something so powerful and reassuring about that absolute truth, when there is so little black and white in the world today. All right, I hope this make sense!

August 29, 2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOTE: I am terribly sorry for the horrible spelling

People can only handle so much truth. At har sinai God could not say all of the commandments out lound becase we could not handle it. The content had to be homogonized for the Jews. So to prophecy is not given to everyone.

God has control over everything in the universe, and although we have free will God can mold it (or take it away ex. hardening pharoh's heart) I believe one can choose to ignore one of God's prophecies (fow whatever reason) but the truth will come out, like in the case of Jonah. Although not all prophecies need to be proclaimed to the people. God may have, on more than one occasion given a personal prophecy to any number of prophets. But the nature of the prophecy was private, so there was no need for the prophect to reveal what he has seen. We do not know specifics on such prophecies, because they were kept private. But is it completly plausible that such prophecies occured.

Debbie K.

August 29, 2006 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Tali got here first. I felt almost sure it would be Debbie...

Anywho. What happened at Matan Torah was an extremely special case, and it only happened for the moment that laid out the entire groundwork of our lives. Imagine if we had the chance to not only speak to God everyday (like we do in davening, or those fun little panic prayers some of us go through before sitting exams...). The thought of it is incredible, but wouldn't it be too easy? Echoing Tali's point on miracles, God's voice might lose its significance. We would abandon our own sense of reason and probably neglect to use our brain. Why dig through commentaries and machlokets if you could just ask God in person?

There's also a certain value to working hard. My sister and I had a very interesting discussion this summer while climbing Mount Giant in the Adirondacks (yes, we're weird.) As we enjoyed the amazing view from aprx. 4,300 feet, we proclaimed that "this is why we hike." My sister said, "the view wouldn't be as good if we could drive to the top. It was good because we earned this view, by sweating and straining and climbing three and a half miles uphill. It's the same with Nevuah. As Rabbi Kresst mentioned in class, Navi'im had to go to "Navi school." And for those that didn't, there must have been something special about them. Nevuah is something you have to work for and earn, making Nevuah something even more special. (After all, juniors and seniors, who wants to go to the college that everyone gets into?)

Rabbi Kresst, you asked, "Is it moral to “judge” God’s commands by an external human sense of right?" In my own personal beleifs, I beleive we must question everything, even things we take for granted. I beleive that if something strikes us at unjust, we should take a closer look to try to find reason behind it. We may disagree with God, we may disagree with each other, but we must search for explanations. God commanded us to study his Torah, and by studying, we will ultimately question. Even if we never understand the reason behind troubling commandments, every question will somehow bring us closer to the truth.

Hope that made some bit of sense!
~Miriam Meyers

August 29, 2006 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note: I kant sepll

Miriam....I was second is that good enough?

In respose to what was already said:

Tying in what both Miriam and Tali have said I beleive you need to work for what you recieve. If God were to go around constantly making obvious miracles we would no longer appreciate miracles the same way. The same applies to Nevuah, if God were to give it to everyone it would no longer be special.

All religions are based on faith. If God were to constantly appear, we would loose the act of faith which, in my opinion makes us closer to god (in the aspect that we must work to beleive in him). But if God goes around reveling himself at every chance he can get...we loose much of the unknown about God. We should have faith in God, to the extent where we don't need him to perfom miracles, because we know he can do it). God should not have to justify himself to us, we should justify ourselved to him.

Debbie K

August 29, 2006 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the risk of getting a bit off topic, but in answer to Debbie's comment:

Is faith really better than proof? Many people would prefer proof of God rather than to simply have faith in him. One could argue that there is concrete proof of the truth of Judaism in the world we live in today. But there are enough people to argue the other side, and they would have a point too.

What are the advantages of proof? What are the advantages of faith?

Sorry 'bout the slight offtopicness...


August 29, 2006 8:51 PM  
Anonymous esti said...

tali what happened to 3-4 sentences...
to start out, i did not reasd the above comments, so my apologys if i say the same thing.
I Think that hashem made navuah only to be heard by one person to show bnei yisroels real faith, if they would listen to a messanger of god, even if at the time it does not seem liek the correct solution/ event that will be to occur. But that also leaves me with the question of, how could someone be expected to beleive and therefore mend their activitys to fit a unconfermed rumor, since anyone could go and say 'hey god just spoke to me and told me so and so'.

August 29, 2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous  said...

I would like to adress R' krestt's question of"Why do you think Hashem chose to use revelation to a select few as the vehicle to commune with man? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to speak to the entire nation (as he did at the time of Matan Torah)?" in a more modern way. In this day and age, if a large group of people were gatherd together and a voice out of no where started speaking to them, no matter how powerful the voice was I think the majority of the people would start asking "where are the hidden speakers"? Yes, at the time of Har Sinai the Jewish people did fully believe in "the voice" because the great miriacle of the splittiong of the sea had just occured. However, over time, when no more visiable great miriacles occured i think less and less people would leave their faith in a hidden voice and more people would become skeptical, like my example of the modern people looking for the spaekers. So, I think gods choice of using prophets was (obviously/ its hashems decision)very smart. It makes sence to me, and i think the majority of the prophets fall into these categories, for there to be two types of people who were given prophesies; those who are regarded highly and are influencial leaders and those who are wicked and do not believe. the leaders that were given profesy(kings(david,shlomo..), moshe...), would be able to use these prophesies to further influence the nation. The wicked people who obtained prophesy( balam) or those losing faith (yonah) would be able to gain an awe of God from the prophesies and then help convince other bad people that they should turn to God or they would at leat gain a grudging respect for God. They would be able to say " yeh, i was in your position but blah blah happenened and i realized god is amazing". In this way hashem was multitasking because not only was he gettting his message out but also turning more people back to him.
I hope this makes sence and that i stayed on topic :)-. See everyone tommorow.

August 29, 2006 11:50 PM  
Anonymous ally said...

A nevuah is a special thing. It is an internal message from Hashem. A Kol Bas is compeltly different to a nevuah because any one who is any one can hear it. The person who is chosen for the nevuah is selected by Hashem for a reason. Not nesserarly because they are a Tzadik, but who Hashem feels is right for the job. Hashem knew Yonah would refuse and refuse but still gave him the nevuah to tell the people that He's the only leader and to follow Him. This is because in His eyes, Yonahs the perfect candidate for the job.


August 30, 2006 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the spelling...

Touching on what some of you said:

If HaShem "talked" to everyone then it wouldn't be kadosh anymore, since everyone would have that power. Going back to Miriam's opinion, noone would think or really have any purpose to learn or do things, since they would have already known the holiness of "talking" to HaShem. Plus, if people had nevuah, then people would lose the sense of true fear of HaShem (and might feel more like they are buddies with Him). Also, isn't one of the goals in life to follow and walk in HaShem's path?...trying to become closer to him? Once we make mistakes and learn more we get one step closer to understanding and "acting" like HaShem. This too, sometimes strengthens the belief and will to become closer to HaShem. Since, if this wasn't the case then HaShem would of and could of just told Adam and everyone else all about "His" secrets. Also if people discover more or go "off the path", most of them tend to come back and try to find HaShem again. After having that/ those experiences the person has a much stronger will and/ or faith to believe in HaShem.
Going back to Adam and Chava, Hashem gave them the option to defy him, by saying not to each from the tree of knowledge. If Chava and Adam never "tested out the waters" and "discover" a "new world", then what would have really been the purpose of them (man) being there in the first place?
Anyways I just thought I would share that with you guys.

August 30, 2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aug. 30, 2006 at 12:45pm

that was mine btw, i forgot to finish it...sorry -Yaelle

August 30, 2006 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a quick response to what Yaelle said about, if God were to talk to everyone it would no longer be "kadosh" (holy). I think it would still be holy, but that it would loose the glamour associated to prophecy.
Additionally, I think Nevuah could reinforce peoples fear in God. It probably freaked prophects out the first time they recieved prophecy, and if anything it made them fear God even more (especailly if they saw realistic images of death and destruction). They would be awed by God, moreso than they were before.

Debbie K

August 30, 2006 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that perhaps why Hashem had/has navies was b/c people can relate more to other people or prophets rather than the Almighty. Since Hashem is so powerful and great, if He did "talk" to people the people would either be really frightened and totally shocked (mentally and physically), just like B'nei Israel at Har Sinai. Or rather if Hashem talked to everyone then everyone would feel oh it's nothing special since He talks to everyone all the's nothing special.
Going back to the first example about how people might of reacted, was that if Hashem did "talk" to them it might of been too powerful, holy and scary for them to recieve the nevuah. Some people are not ment to do or have the same thing that other people might have. Plus, that is one of the reasons why we are all different. Nevuah might just be for only certain people, for whatever G-d's reason is. Although not necessarily the same type of people, as seen with Bilam, Chagai(and other jewish navies), Job, Noach, and name a few). I think that perhaps the reason why there are different kinds of navies and nevuahs might be b/c there are so many different kinds of people in the world (, and all have different opinions and reactions to the way they hear or think about Hashem).
That might be a reason why Hashem just didn't make it so that everyone could "hear" or understand Him...was for people to try and find who they are and how they communicate with G-d.
Also I think Hashem "likes" it more when people go on their little spiritual "journies". Once people have done this they may learn from their mistakes and become closer to Hashem. Plus, it is always "good" to observe, relate and perhaps learn from others. It's not always fun to be told what to do either. I think that is one of the reasons why Hashem made it the way it is...that we can't talk to him directly, in the nevuah sort of way (for most people). But this doesn't also mean that we DON'T have any way to talk or to connect to Him either, since we do it three times a day.

Sorry if it repeats and goes off topic but I just wanted to mention those things.

August 30, 2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I'm thinking that one can choose to ignore HaShem's word and even judge it according to human standards but it leads to a lot of trouble. Eg., Shaul heard the word of HaShem through a Navi but didnt follow those instructions and let the king of the Amalakes live (he has the same name as Hagrids spider in Harry Potter!) So like, with that instance, he didnt ignore it he just didnt fufill it, equally troubling. Judging it to human standrards however is like totally allowed but I personally would not recommend this. God is not us. He is so far above us its crazy. If He does something its for a reason and I personally will trust that He knows what He is doing.

Hope this makes sense!


August 30, 2006 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

yes, I do write as if im speaking...


August 30, 2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, so i began to read all of everyoones replies...but i was too much so ima jsut say what i have to say and if its repetitive im really sorry.
so we were talking in class ne of the three days and someone mentioned that if there were naviim today everyone would either put them in an insane asylem or on medication. Honestly, we dont know if the naviim of our Tanach where forreal prophets or just on speed or acid or were scizophrenic. i dont want to sound heretic, but we have no proof. this lack of proo makes it harder for us to believe {as someone mentioned above} but also if we 'achieve' full faith it is more rewarding and satisfactory to us. when one questions and struggles with faith their connection or faith is in the end stronger than one who just accepts. i think that once the Beit Hamikdash wa destroyed God wanted Bnei Yisrael to have to work really hard for the next one, He wanted each individual to strugle and forge a stronger conneciton with Him as opposed to the first Beit Hamikdsah where everything was given o them. Easy faith hrough Naviim, and easy worship through the Beit hamikdash. sinc eBnei Yisrael lost the privelede of the Beit Hamikdash God also watned them to lose naviim so they could earn a new temple.

~tamar schneck

August 30, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that only a select number of Jews recieve a nevuah because practically all naviim go through traumatic experience upon recieving a nevuah. Whereas Bnei Yisrael weren't able to listen to all of the commandments from Hashem on Har Sinai, many neviim experienced a traumatic expreience when they were recieving a nevuah. For example, according to Yesoday HaTorah, all prophets were terrorized, confused, and torn apart by their experience except Moshe. Their strength would fail so much that they would come close to death. Daniel said describing his nevuah from the angel Gabriel(10:8) "I became powerless, my appearance was disarayed, and my strength deserted me...and I fell on the ground in a trance." So if all of the neviim (besides Moshe) who are already are on a high level experienced a traumatic event while recieving a nevuah in a dream, and not face to face with Hashem,then how much more so the experience would be worse for an average person.

Amanda :)

August 31, 2006 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read through some of the commments, and what I found most interesting was something that Lisa was talking about (Even though she stole my confucious). Except that when I was reading it. Lisa said that people today wouldn't be able to just trust Nevuah... they would be looking for the speakers in the back of the room. Lisa said that these people are skeptical and wouldn't trust in God's voice... you know what you guys can just look at what Lisa said... However, when I read Lisa's blog, I foudn myself attributing the loooking tot he back of the room for speakers not to cynicism but to common sense. To me, people back in the day of Moses and that whole type weren't believers, they were just uneducated. If they stoof around a mountain (Har Sinai) and there's a huge storm going on and a man was standing at the top with these two crazy looking stones, and someone started saying that God was speaking to them, they would just go with it. This is like something Rabbi Mechanic said in the lecture he gave last year. HE said that if you're standing with a group of people and one person looked up at the sky and pretended to see something crazy going on, and made a whole big scene, soon everyone would start looking at the sky to see what that guy was looking for. Rabbi Mechanic used this story to try to convince us that you can't just make up a story because sooner or later the rest of the people in the group would realize there really was nothing in the sky and the first guy was just making smoething up. I, however, see things a bit differently. Think about rumors in school. Even if something is so invalid its rediculous, often an entire school of people will believe its true. I believe something like this happened at Har Sinai. ANyone can put on a show to convince people God is present or God is speaking to them. In central U.S. and our west, Jesus "healers" make thousands and thousands of dollars putting on shows for people to convince them they are prophets. Really what they do is they find facts out about the people in the town before they put on a show and then just recall these facts in the show. THey have lights, they have dances moves, they have "AMENSS", music. The peopel of these towns are so uneducated and so ready to believe that they will give all their money to a scammer in hopes of saving themselves (watch a Leap of Faith with Steve MArtin). The Jews were so needing to believe God existed and so primitive they interpreted a crazy storm with some acting on the part of Moshe as a "BAT KOL". Today, people know however that just doenst happen. God doesn't come down and talk to you. Its more likely its some sort of scam.
Back to the nevuah discussion. Somehow, I'm not sure I buy the whole thing. Look at all the nevuot. Were there really any absolutely crazy ones that no one could possibly have known. The most common Nevuah is "jews, you're misbehaving... its going to get you into trouble. Shape up!" or "jews, you're not doing your work properly... stop dawdling!". You think God has to come to a paerson for him/her to look around and see the Jews aren't keeping their mitzvot or arent working well?!?!?! Plus, the Jews are always getting into trouble anyway, how hard is it to make a prediction that they are going to get exhiled or terminated. People, everyday today are making those predictions! Even back before the Holocaust, and before theCrusades, and before we were kicked out of Spain, and now with the middle east. Its not that hard to put together a "prophecy" like that.

This was a confusing blog and you all probably aren't folowing it cuz my thoughts are kind of all over the place.
However, there are two thing I wonder:
1. at har sinai, why is theere a whole big show for the Bat Kol? It would be much more believabel if God came as he is before the peopel and used his real "voice"... that is unless people only believe thngs if there's a show put on... and then i seriously doubt God was doing theshow..... (see the earlier part of the blog)

2. A simple Nevuah like that given to Yonah for example or Chaggai or Zacharia isn't exactly somethng people can't look around and come up with on their own. It would be a bit more believable if simultaneously everyone woke up one morning and had the exact sam e" vuah".. and even then it might not be the real thing..... .... ...

also, we're not cynical were just smarter

Rabbi Krestt,
i would never put this on a public site. I'm not purposely trying to slander anything or anything of taht sort... I'm just expressing one part of my thoughts... don't hate

~Eliana... if you couldnt tell

August 31, 2006 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lots to say. you know, it takes a looonngg time to answer last because you have to read all the previous blogs. But, you gain delicious and torah-filled knowledge so I guess it balances out. I would liek to address the credentials vs. content section of the blog(and perhaps some other sections, we shall see). Anyway, lets just say the question is, "So you listen to the nevuah because it is coming form a person of great authority, a person of G-d?" , or "Do we have the authority to dissect a nevuah and decide whether it seems right to us? Well, upon reading these two questions,I was conflicted. I thought, "no, of course we can't decide if it's right or not. human beings are all over the place! For example, Jews during the time of idol worship may not hold similar values to what is described in a nevuah for the good(and religious prosperity) of the Jewish people. Therefore, nevuahs should not e ignored and we should have no right to deny their content. But then, I had a conflicting thought. Today,if a man, claiming he was a navi, conveyed a nevuah to all of kemp mill, I would want to do two things, WHICH are definatley subject to dispute.
1) I would want to delve deeper into the nevuah and choose if I wanted to adhere to it. (vs. ignore, in case its confusing. or should i say confucious)
When Chagai and Zechariah were prophesizing, was everyone convinced that Jerusalem was the place to be, and went with them immediatley? Were they imediatley struck by lightning bolts? no. Were they leading perhaps moe spiritually empty lifestyles? perhaps. I would want to have the option to research the nevuah's value and decide on my own-once I was warned. I do not think the Navi should ignore the words of G-d, however, but not many people are worthy of getting direct Nevuah. which brings me to....
2) I would want to identify the navi. Who is this guy? is he or she for real? or he just another shabtai tzvi? I truly believe that Nevuah is incredibly flawed. Kind of like the authority system in the biet hamikdash. But that beings in abck to wwhat tali said way earlier in the discussion. True, anyone can be a false navi. But we can use that to or advantage. We can go back in history, in text, in prayer, in experience, and discover whether or not the nevuah is in accordance with the Torah. or with G-d's(ha! machloket!) words. And then I would og back to option one and see if the nevuah really woud be the right spiritual thing to do.

sweet post eliana.

August 31, 2006 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Raydott said...

Hey guys. Ok, I have a confession, I didnt read every blog, so I hope I can respond adequetly (is that even close to the proper spelling?). I did skim most of it though.

Firstly, responding to Lisa's blog (she's really a hit blogger it seems), about why Hashem would communicate through a select few instead of to the entire nation. This inquiry made me think of my experiences communicating with fellow students, especially when I'm looking for someone to take on a particular task or chesed project. When I announce through Mr. Levitt, "If anyone is available to volunteer for a Yachad party on Sunday, please see Rachel Dotter", I usually get three volunteers max. However, when I approach individual students, and say "we really need volunteers this sunday for a chesed event, could you please come?", the chances of getting a yes are much higher. Similarly, if Mr. Levitt tells a group of students "you must be on time to davening or you will face consequences", (to be frank) not many students will take the message too seriously and react accordingly. In contrast, If Mr. Levitt says to one particular student, take myself for example, "Rachel, you must be on time to davening or you will face consequences", I am much more likely to react accordingly because I recognize my personal attention. Baisically, an individual message where one is singled out has more influence than a group message to a group of people.

Secondly, I'll respond to Rabbi Krestt's question of why there was a big show for the Bat Kol on Har Sinai, (this might contradict my earlier point, by the way, its just a seperate thought). This made me think of Mass Politics (not to make a comparison AT ALL, but Hitler used this strategy, and unfortunetly it gained him tremendous support). When a leader (analogous to God in this case) delivers a message to a large group of people, it tends to gain influence very rapidly. If society adopts a particular premise or opinion, it becomes the norm and is soon accepted by almost everyone (aside from the few skeptical nonconformists, ofcourse). In the case of Hashem and Bnei Yisrael, believing in Hashem was sort of a radical thing, and by demonstrating proof to a massive amount of people, I think it made His message more accepted and His existance more accepted.

Even though my two points were pretty contradictory (since I can understand both strategies...individual message and mass message), I hope I expressed them clearly enough that they make sense.

August 31, 2006 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wanted to leave a comment on hearing g-d , yet ignoring his message at the same time. I didn't read any of the other posts so if this is redundant I apologize now.
If one were to hear the word of G-d,then they would still be given the choice of ignoring the message and continuing with their daily life. But just because one would choose to ignore the message doesn't mean that G-d would allow them to continue on that path. The perfect example of this can be found in sefer yonah where yonah decides to ignore what G-d tells him and instead tries to (so to speak)to stay as far away from his nevuah as possible.But G-d makes sure that yonah carries out the message of the nevuah, going as far as, according to some medrashim disrupting the laws of nature. (only yonah's boat was affected by the storm while the rest of the boats had smooth sailing)Even if one chose to ignore a prophecy sent by G-d if He wanted his prophecy delivered and you are his chosen messenger then eventually G-d would make sure that his prophecy was delivered so in the end
Even if one would try their hardest to esape from the delivery of prphetic nature eventually G-d makes sure you deliver it. so the moral of this litle story is if G-d happens to speak to you and gives you a prophecy it's probably the best for you to deliver it to the right people/persons.Or you just end up being eaten by a giant whale...
-Amalia M.

August 31, 2006 11:56 PM  
Anonymous RayDott said...

this blog topic is getting way worn out

September 01, 2006 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its very hard for us Jews-especailly during this time-when we dont ever see neuvuah-to understand something as deep as phrophecy.But the whole idea of prophecy-at least what I belive-is to instill faith in the Jewish People. It is very easy to belive that it dsoent exist and that people jsut make phrophecy up, but it is here to help us belive. Hashem made prophecy this way for a reason. He could have easily made prohpecy given to the enrite nation. He could ahve completly taken out the idea that it was to only one person. But this would have taken away the entire beuty of teh system Hashem has set up. By making phrophecy in teh way he made it, Hashem made it something speical and unique. Phrophecy dosent happen to jsut anyone and when it does happen to someone, the rest of the nation has to believe its real and listen to whatever the prophet is saying. Bc no matter how you want to deny it, Hashem clearly spoke to this one person and you cant ignore the words of Hashem.

September 03, 2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops i forgot to put my name-the one before this one was mine-Shira Zurndorfer

September 03, 2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the advantage – from Hashem’s perspective – of creating a system of communication based on revelation and not reason?
i think that since we personally didnt hear it, it shows more faith and beleif in hashem. this is because we have to trust in a messenger of his. I think hashem chose this way so that we would see just how important it really is since not jsut anyone could hear it.
- Esti

September 06, 2006 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Shira Moer said...

ok so i think it is very hard to say if prophecy or if speaking to all of Bnei Yisroel is better. We never witnessed or was alive during the time of prophecies. However, I think that prophecies to a select few make it easier to get Hashem's point accross. Hashem knows who he is giving the prophecy to and knows that they are the right person to recieve that prophecy. They would then tell anyone to whom the prophecy involved. If Hashem talked to everyone like he did at Maatan Torah, everything would be a lot different. I dont think speaking to Hashem would have been as special. Getting a Nevuah is very spiritual and it is a very special connection to Hashem. On the other hand, if Hashem spoke to everyone that connection to god would be lost. Also, I do not think people would know how to respond if Hashem, our god, spoke to them. At Maatan Torah, we see that it did not work out. The nation got scared and Hashem had to speak to Moshe instead of all of them. I think Bnei Yisroel need a messenger like a Navi or like Moshe was at Maatan Torah to give them the information. Not everyone should be able to get a nevuah or is capable of being a Navi.
A person who recieves a Nevuah can ignore it because they have free will. This troubles me a little though because if Hashem gave them a nevuah would He assume they would tell the phrophecy to whoever it may concern?
In conclusion I think Prophecy is an amazing thing and not everyone is cut out for it but we do not have Nevuah now so it is very hard to say what it is all about.

~Shira Moer
p.s. sorry if I didnt make any sense im not a great writer and I'm a little tired.

September 07, 2006 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not everyhthing in judaism is logical and rational!!!!!
why cant we eat eel and horse if we wanted to? why cant i buy a hermes scarf made of wool and linen? why cant i? why why why? its called Chok, its something that doesnt make sense to us, but we do it anyway because we beleive Hashem has a reason for it. Hashem built nevuah as a system of revelation and not reason because we need to understand that we sometimes do things that dont make sense to us even if they make us uncomfortable. for example, you listen to your parents because you know they are right, even if you might not understand the rationale behind their arguments. and that is exactly the point. Most of the times we will understand why we are commanded to do something in the Torah- we give Tzedakah because we want to be good people and imitate Hashem- but then there is always the flipside, where the faith in g-d plays a role. We have to have faith that Hashem kows what he's doing, and he has a rationale behind his actions and his Mitzvot.

Revelations are also less vague than reason, so there is room for the specific navi to choose the way he wants to present the nevuah to bnei israel.
as for the question of why all of israel could not hear hashem's nevuahs, im not so sure. I heard that as soon as bnei israel heard hashem's voice on Har Sinai they all died because it was too much to bare, so angels had to go around and revive everyone, and then Moshe took over with the ten commandments. Maybe that answers the question; regular ppl wouldnt be able to stand the intensity .

i do think its possible to hear Hashem, rather know what the right thing to do is, and then completly ignore it. For example, it is a commandement to not steal, and ppl know it, but its done anyway. ppl have "heard the word of g-d" and choose not to heed.
wishing everyone a good night of sleep,

September 13, 2006 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, i forgot to add something.
if theres one thing i love about judaism, its that not everything is black and white and spotted with logic!
the fact that some things will never be known to us is really comforting if you think about it. i love that hashem has his reasons, the logic is there, but not for me to see and worry about. i hope im making sense.

September 13, 2006 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Amy said...

So, after coming back to the Blog and reading what others have said after mine(mine was that people would be skeptical of a random voice...), i found myself really liking/ agreeing with/ being stuck on rachel dotters. However, she wrote that her two opinions were contradictory to one another( they were that 1.individual attention makes a person follow directions... 2. mass politics (hitler) also gain tremendous support.). Superficially, they are. However, after thinking more about rachel and my posts and combining them together i came up with the realization that they can be used in the same strategy very effectivly: people would be skeptical of a random voice that they've never heard before- but if they recognized it they would follow it- if first someone ( a navi) comes personally to a person, makes him understand and follow something (god/mitzvot) and does this to a whole group of people, and then a voice comes (god/ bat kol) and empasizes something they've alredy heard about, the people would follow him and be united in doing so. This makes sense to me however i do not see instances of this happening in the torah. I think that this theory can also work in reverse- first a bat kol and then a navi to back it up. this happened at har sinai and worked for a while. however still i have the issuee that it work today. i think the problem is that bringing the whole nation together and hearing a bat kol really united them in belief- and since their was only one great/ huge / memorable event of this (har sinai)the method stopped working. inorder to keep all jews following god we needed those voices on a somewhat regular basis all the way up until today (enough to keep bnei israel beliving but not enough for them to become blase). Not to diss hashem or anything- im sure his/her insight is much more farreaching than mine/im sure i missed something.

Sorry if this goes against anyting i said in my previous blog/ repeated anything in it- i wanted people to know what i meant if they didnt read my first one- learning is a work in progress. ~lisa

September 13, 2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reason why we have/had Neviim:

I think that people are sometimes stubborn until shown proof. When Hashem spoke to B"nei at Matan Torah, that was proof of a fraction of His Ultimate/Almighty power(s). Since it was so powerful for B"nei to hear/handle, Moshe had to take over.
I think that one of the reasons why we have/had Neviim is perhaps because Hashem wants to communicate with us without killing us or revealing His Ultimate Power/Him/Her-self to us. This is also a way to test B"nei, whether we believe or listen to his messages, mitzvot or Torah. Once we had the proof (at Har Sinai), now it is up to us to make our decisions whether to listen and follow the ways of Hashem or to ignore and be defiant; (in order to have a better and closer relationship with Hashem or not).

Hope this makes sense...
P.S. Rabbi Krestt- Don't know if it's too late or not..??...

October 01, 2006 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to discuss the question that arrises in Esti's post: "What is the advantage – from Hashem’s perspective – of creating a system of communication based on revelation and not reason?"
Although Esti's response towards the question was precise, I would like to share my view on the topic.
I agree AND disagree with her responce. I agree with the fact that since Hashem delievers his messages through people that are in a higher position of power, and not just ANYONE makes us realize how important his message is. What i disagree with is that since we DON'T recieve Hashem's messages through him, and through some body else, that we (as in the jewish nation) have more faith and belief in Hashem. In my opinion, when a friend, family member, or anyone in general want something from you/have something to share with you, and tell you it face to face, it is extremly meanningful, and you have more of a connection with that person rather than hearing it from a different source. Secondly, you can't be so sure that each and every single person will trust the messenger who delievers all the information. For all we know the information could be 100% false, but since we are obligated to believe that it's the words of Hashem, we do. It truly depends on the person and how close they feel with Hashem, and if they REALLY believe in Hashem as a whole. I apologize for future refrence to anyone who reads this and completly disagrees. My intentions weten't to start any cat fights on this Nevuah blog haha.

- Devora

October 02, 2006 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Esti that since we ourselves did not hear the message by us believing the neviim shows a sence of faith. To anwser the question as to why God does not just send out a message to all of us like He did on Har Sini is because on Har Sini we could not even handle hearing Gods voice and upon hearing it Bnei Yisroel called out (ok i tried writing it in hebrew but it didnt work out and im not gonna even try to translitorate it so ill just go for english) "You speak to us they said to Moshe, but let not God speak to us,lest we die" Shmot perek 20 pasuk 19.The advantage of having a system based on revalation and not reason ties into the concept of faith and that since you can never prove it the only way to believe in it is to have faith. This concept is shown in Kohelet and I remeber when we learned it in ninth grade Rabbi Eisenman told us that there are some things in Judaism ment to not be able to understand and to think that we will understand them is foolish. In accordence to the question of if it is possible to hear the word of God and ignore it I think it is impossible. Well you might argue the Yonah ignored it but then I would question that for if Younah truley ignored it he would have done nothing but Yonah did not ignore it he just choose not to do what some of it asked him yet what God told him clearly had enough of an impact on him to make him like Israel and run away.
ok i am a little afraid to write more cuz i dont know how much can fit on these things
-Rachel stern

October 03, 2006 8:41 PM  

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