Thursday, September 07, 2006

How Does One Qualify for Nevuah?

Posted by Aviva



It's not so simple is it? How do you qualify for Nevuah? And why am I not qualified?

But before I attempt to answer that, I think I just had an epiphany! (Did I spell that right?) Do you guys realize that Moshe Rabbeinu was the only Navi to actually receive Mitzvot in his Nevuahs!!!!! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can’t think of anyone else who also did. I also asked people about it and they couldn’t think of anyone else either. Now you might say "but Aviva, you're wrong because did not Avraham get a Nevuah for Brit Milah and kind of one for multiplying [you will be as numerous as the sand and the stars…]?" Well then I would tell you that yes he did, but it wasn’t technically a mitzvah because it was before Matan Torah. This might tie into what I have to say later, but as of now just keep it in mind.

Ok so anyway I know we discussed in class that a Navi usually has some aspect of spirituality in him, but what does that have to do with the quantity or the quality of his Nevuah? Again going back to Moshe, he was the most Anov (humble) of all our forefathers, and that justifies the fact that Moshe was so close to Hashem that he saw G-d’s back (whatever that means). But if a Navi is not as close to Hashem as lets say Moshe was, does that mean his Nevuahs by definition cannot be as meaningful or important?

I don’t really know the answer to that, so I’m going to look at it a different way.

Rambam mentions nevuah in his Moreh Nevuchim. He says that a person must prepare himself before receiving any type of prophecy, and even then its not guaranteed. So now what does this mean? If anything it just makes things more complicated! Is Rambam telling me that Neviim like Balak actually took the time out of their busy schedules to prepare themselves for Nevuah? And if it is true, how do you prepare yourself for Nevuah? Is there some kind contemplation ritual, or a prayer you say? But more importantly, didn’t we agree that a Navi cant decide whether he has nevuahs, so if he doesn’t know its coming (or does he?) how can he prepare himself for it?

Anyway, now I’ve got more questions than I started with. So lets say a Navi “prepares” himself for Nevuah, receives a few, and all of a sudden he just stops receiving them? What does it mean, is Hashem mad at him, did he do something wrong? Can anyone think of examples in the past where this has happened because I cant- so maybe that’s not the way it works?

So back to the original question- how do you qualify for Nevuah? I don’t know, but if you have the answers please, please contact me!!!

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So in Avivas blog there are a lot of intersting questions and thoguhts so I will try and go one by one. Firstly, she talks about the qaulity etc of a navi and how other navim are compared to Moshe. Well while I was reading those thoughts, I thoguht of an idea that can be aplicaple to many aspects in our lives and in the torah.Hashem looks at each of us differently. He judges each of us differently, bc we are all differnt people. Just because Moshe and Hashem were close, dosent mean that other navims neuvuot were not as impt it jsut means that they had a differnt relationship then lets say balam and Hashem. Just as you might look at your little sister and your friend differently, that is essentioally how Hashem looks at us differently- he doesent love me and you any less then he loved Moshe, it is jsut a completlty different relationship. Therefore by no means are other navim neuvoat less meaningful or impt then Moshes.
Also another question that Aviva asked is if a Navi stops recieving Navuat does that mean he did something wrong?No he did not, I think that he did what Hashem wanted him to do, he has fullfilled his duty and now he will go on with the rest of his life. THis goes back to the divine plan- Hashem knows the neuvot that each Navi will recive and will stop giving them them when he sees fit and when he has planned to stop. It has nothing to do with the Navi-its jsut what Hashem has decided to do. Which follows into Aviva's last question-how does one qualify to become a navi? I belvie that there is no specific way to become one-its jsut something that Hashem has given you. You cannot qualify for neuvah bc there is nothting you can do to make Hashem give u Neuvuah. Hashem has chosen-for reasons we dont know- who he wants to become a navi and nothing we can do or say can change that.
-Shira Zurndorfer

September 13, 2006 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Aviva's blog there were many interesting questions I'd like to address. First, I don't think Hshem stops talking to a navi becuase he is mad at him. As we learnt in class, only the prophecies which are needed for future generations are recorded. Therefore, Hashem could have spoken to the navi again, but the nevuah is not recorded. Also, once the navi did what Hashem asked him to do (like tell the Jews to do teshuvah) Hashem didn't appear to the navi again. Second, to qualify for nevuah I think the navi had to be G-d fearing and follow th emitzvot.Every navi (except Moshe) went through a tramatic experince when receiving the nevuah. Therefore if an average person recieived the nevuah they would expereince an even more deadly event. Then, I think Hashem picked the navi who he thought could fulfill the job the best. I also don't think the navi prepared for his nevuah. I think once they received their first nevuah thye realized they are on a holier level and tried to remain holy becuase Hashem could speak to them whenever he needed, but I don't think they had esp and knew they were going to have a nevuah in ther dream at night.

Amanda

September 13, 2006 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Shira’s comment on Aviva’s blog:
Firstly, I disagree with Shira’s comment that Nevuot received throughout the generations are equally important with the prophecies received by Moshe. Moshe’s messages from Hashem were timeless concepts that were deemed so important that they were recorded in the Torah. The Torah will always be the foremost book in every Jews’ life, because it reaches out to every individual. I believe that most of the prophecies recorded in the Neviim and Ketuvim are less important because they generally relate to specific periods of time. Most do not contain timeless moral lessons that teach a person the proper ways to behave and better understand Hashem. Many of the other prophecies are predictions of future events that we know have already come true or will eventually occur, so in my mind they are of secondary importance.
Secondly, Aviva asks why a prophet would no longer receive prophecy, and in this I agree with Shira. Hashem speaks to people when He deems appropriate and necessary. Since we know that it is impossible to truly understand Hashem’s ways, we will never truly understand when Hashem needs to speak to people. In my opinion, people have zero say in when they receive (or do not receive) prophecy. Yonah has proven that when Hashem wants a message delivered, it will be delivered. I believe a good example of a person who received prophecies that eventually ceased was Noach. Hashem needed Noach to continue the human race and so He communicated with him for that sole purpose. Once Noach was saved, there was no longer any need for prophecy, and no further conversations between Noach and Hashem are recorded. Now, it is true that Noach behaved inappropriately upon surviving the flood and therefore maybe Hashem didn’t think that he was worthy to receive prophecy; however, Hashem has communicated with far more disreputable characters. From this I can only conclude that a person’s behavior makes little difference when it comes to receiving prophecy.
Thirdly, how does one qualify for receiving prophecies? I would have to speculate that a person receives prophecy by being in the right place at the right time. Hashem communicates with the person that He feels would contribute to his great plan for humanity. Maybe He intervenes and puts specific people in certain places so that they may receive these prophecies and help the Jewish people (how free will fits there, I don’t know), in which case the aforementioned speculation would not answer the question. I suppose we will never really be sure because Hashem works in such complicated, albeit miraculous ways.
- Rebecca :)

September 13, 2006 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Shira M said...

ok so I think Aviva's questions are very interesting and extremely hard to answer but I will try. First, like Rebecca said, I think you do not have to "qualify" to become a Navi. Hashem chooses who he wants to have as a Navi, and chooses different people for different messages. I do think that Hashem picks people who are already on a high level, and this is what the Rambam is saying. He is explaining that Hashem does not just pick anyone to become a Navi they have to "prepare" themselves. I do not think this means a tefilla or something like that, but most have to already be on a high level, and close to Hashem. (I think there could also be exceptions to this like Balak, and that was a time when we needed the nevuah to come from someone like him). However the Rambam also says that even then it is not guarunteed. Not everyone who is on a high level will recieve a nevuah. Now, moving on to another one of the questions. If a Navi gets a couple nevuahs and then just stops getting them I do not think anything is wrong with that. Hashem's chose that person to deliver a message or a prophecy and he did it. I think it could even be better if you stopped recieving becuase then you now you accomplished something and you got the message across. However, if you know that you are not as spiritual or on as high as a level as you were before, or you are trying to run away from a nevuah (Yonah), or something like that, and then you stop getting Nevuah's, then and I think only then, could there be another reason why you did not get another nevuah. However, for some reason I think that the Neviim knew if Hashem was mad at them or not. It never says that a Navi stopped getting a Nevuah because Hashem was mad at them. I think the Navi knew if his job was done or not.

~Shira Moer

September 13, 2006 9:11 PM  
Anonymous B-Silb said...

Ok i pretty much agree with like everything Shimo said but i have a few alterations\additions. Ok i think that there is absolutley no real way of knowing why Hashem chooses who he chooses to be a navi but we can def guess. I personally think Hashem chooses people who the people listen to. I understand that there were many nevi'im who were not very well liked and were not listened too and truthfully i have no way to back up my opinion other than if i was Hashem choosing people to represent me i would choose the most "popular" people. Just like if a company is trying to advertise in a commercial they would use famous athletes or actors and actresses. I know that sounds like sleezy and "but becky how could you compare something so important as choosing someone to represent God's words to something so miniscule like car advertisements" but in our world today buying a car is probably one of the most important things that ever happens to us. In response to the question on why a navi stops getting nevuot, i dont think there is a better answer then because there is no need for him to get them anymore. I dont know my navis that well so if someone could help me out-- have there ever been overlapping navis ? If so has one been getting more nevuahs then the other, because if not you can just assume that when the navi is not getting anything from hashem, hashem has nothing to give....someone please answer those questions??

--becky

September 13, 2006 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Amy said...

so, im going to disagree with shira z's comment that all nevuot/navi's are equal. we learned in mrs. kressts class that moshe and hashem were almost like best friends. hashem even showed moshe his back and come on what more coiuld a guy do to show his friendship. but seriosly, no offense but their are soem things that i tell my best friend that i dont tell other people- its just that ive had a long relationship and so i trust them more. maybe its the same thing with ahshem- how could he give a profesy to someone he met yesterday that is equally important to one that he gave moshe? that makes no sence to me! also, some prophesies arnt fulfilled. we learned that about yonah that the jews didnt believe him because his other profesies were not fulfilled. how can an unfullfilled profesy be equal to one of moshes either?
perhaps, the best friend theory can also be applied to the question of who recieves the profesies. maybe god picks people he knows he can mesh well with. God sure knows that God had to mesh well with moshe because they had to communicate for most of moshes life and probably after it too). then one can ask the question of how do non jews or bad people get profesies(bilam)? well, the non jews part is easy - i know plenty of non jews that i know and get along with great. the evil part is harder though- maybe its that the evil person has good qualities inside of him that just dont show.. or im treading on thin ice here but God has human- like qualities and for sure we have evil- so maybe gods evil qualities ( that he doesnt show ofcouse- people dont kill me here:) ) match with the evil persons.
its been fun ~lisa

September 13, 2006 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Amy said...

just to clear up for people- i dont want you guys to think i was triing to answer a question with an unrelated answer- there is supposed to be a new paragraph starting where it says - perhaps the best friend theory....... in the above post.
sorry for being a dork-gotta love it~lisa

September 13, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment on Becky's post - I agree with her statement that Hashem probably picks messengers who are influential, but I disagree that they have to be well liked. As Rabbi Krestt said in class today, a Navi cannot be disrupted by day-to-day troubles, which probably means he is out of touch with reality. Somebody who is permanently engolfed in a spiritual calm and doesn't involve himself in reality probably frustrated the average working person. Additionally, I would like to add that I believe a Navi should be reputable. If a Navi wasn't reputable his message would not be believed. I understand that we have ways to check if somebody is being dishonest, however even if somebody did prophesize correctly at one point but struck me personally as dishonest or unctuous, I probably wouldn't listen to him. Most of the prophets throughout Tanach were heard by the people - not necessarily followed to or listened to, but heard. This tells me that they must have passed as being legit. which I think has a lot to do with reputation.
- Rebecca

September 14, 2006 7:36 PM  
Blogger Yoni Krestt said...

A couple thoughts:
1) Did Noach loose Nevuah because he did something wrong? Or did he first stop receiving nevuah and only then turn to alchohal to try to fill the whole in his life where nevuah had been?

2) I agree with Becky. If Hashem really wants people to listen to the Navi, he should pick popular people . . . (so does that mean that Hashem doesn't _want_ all prophecies to really be listened to . . . .?)

3) The "best friend" theory is interesting. Certainly there are people who -- while they aren't necessarily considered the greatest of scholars or the most pious of all pious people -- nonetheless are regarded as being somehow more "special" to Hashem. The most famous example is probably Choni HaMagal. Another Tannah, one who generally is regarded as "greater", points out that nonone else -- including himself -- could have gotten away with what Choni did. It is just that Hashem has a special fondness for him,

September 14, 2006 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, so a few things:
firstly, i agree that moshe was closer to Hashem than other neviim, however, i disagree with rebecca that his prophecies were more important or more timeless. we learend in Navi that all prophecies have some timelessness to them. maybe not for every moment at every point in the future, but prophecies about destruction for example often have a message that can be applied to future times of detruction. Additionally, we learned that Yonah's message is the ultimate timeless message: that G-d is everywhere.
On the topic of when prophecies stop being given to certain neviim, i think that there are 2 possibilities a)the mission was accomplished (becky?). this i believe applies to neviim like bilam or othe neviim that had a direct, "simple" mission. i would catagorize these as "one- time naviim". b)the navi did something to lose his/her "holiness" or ability to get nevuot. this could be either intention or unintentional, like the example with noach (Rabbi krestt). either, noach did not want nevuah anymore, so he drank the wine, or eh drank the wine to celebrate, not realizing it was wrong, and lost his nevuah abilities.
-laya

September 29, 2006 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it may seem that Hashem picks influential people to have Nevuahs, this is in many cases not entirely true. Think about all of the people that tried to return Bnei Israel to Hashem. These people may have been influential on a certain level but at the same time many of them did not have enough power to change Bnei Yisrael’s ways. You could say that they were so far removed from God that it wasn’t the Navi’s fault- but why would Hashem send a Navi to them if he knew that the Navi would have no impact on them whatsoever. This I know is all part of Hashem’s divine plan but still- why would he pick them? Another idea for why they stopped receiving Nevuot could be because Hashem no longer needed their services. Like when a person is laid off of work, it’s not always that their employer dislikes them or thinks that they cheated the business in some way, but it could be just because they no longer have work that they need for them to do. So too with this, the Navi fulfilled his duty, did what he had to do and went on from there.

September 30, 2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- Naomi Z

September 30, 2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Dani B said...

i agree with becky about the popular part. it wasnt a silly comment beck, its true. If hashem picked someone shy an quiet that the people dont listen to in general, why would they listen to or belive him when he was talking about things that are that important. But besides popularity, it has to be a pious person and a person that wont take advantage of knowing hese things. Also, with the exception on Yona, it has to be a person that will deliver hashems messages without question.

October 02, 2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow.
what an intersting stream of thoughts. I agree with amny of the points, but mainly the point about being in the right place at the right time and the presence of authrotiy/someone people will listen to. Hashem definitley picks someone who peoplewill listen to-we see bilaam's influential state with the king(he must have ben high in authority) and we see yonah's ability to sway in that he got nineveh to do tshuva QUITE quickly. Either the person mus tbe high up there, or has stupendous motivational skills. then again, there is a navi that hashem perhaps WANTS people to ignore-such as noach. This brings me to the corroboration of rebecca's point-if you are perfect for the way hashem's message needs to be related, then you will be chosen for the navuah, REGARDLESS OF YOUR STATE OF RELIGIOSITY OR PURITY. Rabbi Breitowitz said, owever, in his shabat shuva saturday night drsha, that none of us can be neviim because we are not in a time when we can speak to G-d. We don't knwo why, but none of us oday can b neviim-becuase of the spirital level of the world.
-dasimi

October 02, 2006 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok to what dasi said- i dont understand why if someone is an amzazing person and desrves to get nevuah, no better yet, is just as qualified as neviim b4 our time, why cant he she get it? what if this person isnt influenced by the outside world, and is just as holy as like yirmiyahu? is our society toady really that bad that hashem cannot talk to us directly? i will now attempt to answer my own question. i think we are at a really low spiritual level in the world. Even though we associate bnei israel as bad b/c of their hate for each other that ultimately destroyed the holy beit hamikdash, i think that if its even imaginable we are lower today than they were then. in fact if there was a bayit today, i doubt it would last for the length of a korban. its so sad that once upon a time man had direct connection w/ hashem and now not much. i cannot wait for the third bayit, bmherah beyameynu amen.

Aviva

October 03, 2006 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whos excited for the mission!!!!!
Aviva

October 03, 2006 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think to quailify for nevuah or to prepare for one as you spoke about before you need to be in the right mindset. Espically for one to be even somewhat close to the level that moshe was on. I also agree with what Becky said before about the Navi needing to be popular as we learned in class Naviim had to be rich for a number of reasons and one of thoes reasons was so that they were respected which ties into what Becky was saying
-rachel stern

October 03, 2006 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, there sure were a lot of points that were raised so far. I'd like to first comment on the notion that Hashem chooses Neveim like we choose freinds. I agree that Neveim and Hashem do have a special relationship. It seems to me however, that because Neveim function, by defenition, on a higher spiritual plane with Hashem, than on the plain that we interact with one another, that their relationship with Hashem on an esoteric/spiritual level is quite different from our relationships with each other. Secondly, I would like to comment on the fact that some people seem to think that a Navi has to be a 'popular' person. While I agree that a Navi has to get his or her message across to the people, I don't agree that a Navi neccessarily has to be rich and popular. Most Neveim, to the best of my knowlege, were in fact poor and many of them were at first shunned by the people. (I think Yermiah is an example of this). The only charisma and/or personal charm necessary for a Navi is that which is necessary for the Navi's personal/phycological well-being. A Navi, like Dasi and Rebecca said, can be pretty much anyone, the only perequisite is that they are able to receive Nevuah and can follow through with delivering it. Thirdly, I think that after generations of not having Neveim around, many of us have possibly become cynical to the idea of Neveim being actual people with actual jobs/designations/missions. there are plenty of righteous people around today and there are plenty of righteous people around in the past that, under different circumstances, could have received Nevuah. Nevuah however, is not an end in and of itself. I feel that at the time when we had it, people did not consider it the highest form of spiritual purity. It is still not technically considered to be such, but because of it's loss and our exile, it has taken on a meaning of it's own in the Judeo-Christian western society in which we live. Thus, I want Mashiach to come and restore us to our former state of spiritual purity in which Nevuah was accepted as normal.
-Rachael R. :)

October 04, 2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger saragaut said...

o.k. to start off i dont think that anyone can ever know the answer to this question because well we're not hashem. but ill take a shot. so i dont think theyre chosen like friends because then that means He choose who he likes the best. i think its chosen like a boss chooses his employees by who's best for the job. in other words it could potentially be anyone but bc it has to be who hashem thinks will fullfill it the way he wants. as for the question of being prepared but we dont know it's coming so how is that possible; i think that prepared means in the spiritual and religious sense. in order to actually believe that hashem is talking to you, we need to have an extreme amount of faith and not everyone is prepared for that. obviously it seems as though hashem chooses neviim by who is closest to him like moshe but i think that is only at certain times when hashem feels like he can only get his message across to someone who is closest to him, (and that is why moshe seems like more of intermediary between hashem and the people) but truthfully anyone can qualify because hashem is looking for the right person and that could be anyone depending on the situation.
peace out ladies (and rabbi krestt)

October 06, 2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aharon received a Mitzva via prophecy too, in Parshat Shemini.

March 23, 2014 3:33 PM  

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