Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Prophetic Experience

Posted by Amanda


As we learnt in class, a navi had to prepare himself intensively in order to qualify as a navi. He had to control his emotions and delve into the spiritual. He also had to be wealthy and independent. However, according to Aryeh Kaplan's book on the Thirteen Principles of Faith, once a navi qualified for nevuah, he received his nevuah through a traumatic experience, which made the prophet's limbs tremble, his body would become faint, and he loses control of his thoughts. In addition, he received his nevuah in the form of an allegory along with its interpretation. For example, Yaakov saw a ladder with angels going up and down on it. This was an allegory for the four nations that would rule the Jews. A navi also had to be extra careful in interpreting his nevuah because according to Rambam in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah ch. 7 if a navi misinterprets even detail in his/her nevuah then he/she is considered a false prophet. Finally, a navi could only receive a nevuah when he was happy. Therefore, he would have people play music for him when he wanted a nevuah.

Why do you think the navi had to go through a traumatic experience when he received a nevuah? Wouldn't you think the navi would not go through a traumatic experience since he is on a high spiritual level? Why do you think the navi received his nevuah in the form of an allegory plus its interpretation? What is the purpose of the allegory? Why did the navi have to be happy to receive his nevuah?

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very interesting to apply this post to Yonah, because of the fact that he fullfilled hashems nevuah and mission in first no way and then the second time around in the simplest way possible.
Yet this may help explain answers for the question the asked by the post. By having the navi go through some sort of "traumatic experience" in order to receive the nevuah may tell neviim who had thoughts like yonah to fullfill the mission and countinue with the word of GOD. One navi may think that since god put them through one traumatic experience in order to receive the nevuah who knows what kind of traumatic experience the navi may go through if not fullfilling it fully. The allegory portioin of the nevuah gived the navi an opportunity for a more spiritual experience. In the case of Yaakov and the ladder, the angels gave spiritual meaning to the nevuah because if it wasnt presented in this beautiful image who knows what one would think about a nevuah on the destruction of benei yisroel. The navi regardless should be happy upon receiving the nevuah given the fast that he is going to be working for god. I think that the conditions of receiving a nevuah are excrutiating yet highly important for the navi's understanding of his high positioned job.**iris**

October 25, 2006 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok so i mentioned in a previous blog about different types of naviim (bilam was not like yonah who was not like moshe). I don't think Aryeh Kaplan's idea of what a navi went through and had to do to prepare applied to all types of neviim. Maybe a navi who was unwilling to carry out his messagee was put through trauma to motivate him to listen. And on a similar note, what is the source for Aryeh Kaplan's idea that neviim went thruogh trauma? (I mean that in the most respectful way possible). Perhaps trauma could just be that the communication with G-d was a bit overwhelming, to put it lightly. On the topic of allegories, I don't that every nevuah was like that either. Some were straight forward, like the ones Moshe got. Perhaps certain ones were given as allegories because the person could not handle a direct message or maybe the allegory is for the people the navuah concerns who couldn't handle a severe direct message. I also don't think that a misinterpretation turns that navi into a false prophet. It might mean that the people will precieve him as a false prophet or if he wasnt careful enough interpreting it he would be considered a false prophet (like b'shogeg). I don't think that if the navi misinterpreted b'oneh (correct term?) they would be punished so severely. Concerning happiness, moshe wasn't always happy, in fact I get the impression that he was usually pretty upset with b'nei Yisrael. Yonah doesnt strike me as a particualarly happy personality either (especially at the end) likewise with bilam, shaul, and many others. Also I learned that if the navi wanted a nevuah he could play music to get himself into a better mood, not that others had to playfor him. To me thats a significant difference.
-laya

October 26, 2006 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't quite understand the whole idea of a navi going through a traumatic experience while recieving a nevuah. It doesn't seem fair at all because this person who has made it their "goal" (I guess) to be on that higher level and to be able to control their emotions (like Amanda said), and be wealthy at the same time just to be closer to God, to me doesn't deserve to have to go through such a traumatic experience to fulfill God's messages.

I think that maybe the reason that the nevuahs were recieved with an allegory is not only because that the message might be too harsh/severe/or hard to swallow, but also because the message could be hard to grasp. I mean the neviim are getting these messages from God and God is on the highest level of knowledge/understanding that its possible that our minds would not be able to understand or comprehend the direct blunt message that God sent; which is why an allegory would be needed to apply the message to things that we as humans are able to understand. Also the interpretation I think is for the same reason, to further explain the message as well as what the navi has to do.

On the point of the navi having to be happy to recieve a nevuah, that makes sense. If a navi were to recieve a nevuah while he/she was angry or upset then most likely they wouldn't be paying attention because they already have something on their mind. Also their mood or the way they feel could alter the interpretation of the nevuah. Being happy to recieve a nevuah makes the most sense because when happy a person doesn't have any disposition on any matter, and will do whatever they are asked willingly (usually). But this doesn't make sense when I think about Yonah. He definately wasn't happy when he recieved his nevuah. He was more like depressive or almost apathetic in a sense of not wanting to deal with anything. So the idea that a navi has to be happy to recieve a nevuah is clearly not always true.

~Stepho Meshel~

October 26, 2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i think that all parts of the process of nevuah are symbolic. First, the fact that the navi goes through a trumatic experience can maybe be a reminder of Hashem's omnipotence; that BECAUSE of the neviims' high stature Hashem wanted to make an even more significant point about his power through weakening even those who are closest to him. Secondly, i think that Hashem communicates his message through allegorys in order to remind us of our inability to completely understand or "see" Hashem. Additionally, perhaps there is both an allegory and an interpretation in order for us, bnei israel, to be able to understand Hashem's plans in a way that we can relate to. Hashem being supernatural,he wanted us to understand to the best of our ability his plans through our world; physical symbols. And lastly, perhaps the reason a navi must be happy when he gets nevuah is because Hashem wants to show "ivdu it Hashem besimcha" in practice, even when one goes through a traumatic experience. It shows that though a navi clearly fears Hashem and feels an obligation to fulfill Hashem's decree, Hashem wanted to show us that yeras Hashem, or the fearing of God, is only part of our relationship with him. The other part is Ahavas Hashem, or the love for Hashem. This part of our relationship with God is not one of fear but of joy and love. Therefore, the nevuah process signifies our relationship with God through undergoing fear, hardship, obscurity, trauma, joy, and love. -arella

October 26, 2006 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Laya's question about how we know the navi suffered a traumatic experience-- the source is Daniel 10:8 "I became powerless, my appearance was disarayed, and my strength deserted me...and I fell on the ground in a trance." It also sayd later in 10:16 (also Daniel) "The vision caused me to become dislocated and I had no strength left"

Amanda

October 26, 2006 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Amanda, but I do not neccecarily agree with Aryeh Kaplan's book.
If God is going to make someone a prophet, then they should be able to deliver the message properly. Afterall, God is omnipotent so he knows what will happen. Why would he put someone through the torture ( the first time having a nevuah). The case of Daniel may heve been unique (considering he was living in a time when Nevuah was not neccecarily widespread to begin with) he may have needed a painful reminder from god. But by no means do I think that pain was neccecary for all.

Debbie K

October 28, 2006 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aright, so to me it makes sense that the Navi went through a traumatic experience. Similar to past discussions about how a Navi knows hes getting a Nevuah. how else would a Navi know he was getting a Nevuah if he didn't get a dose of God's wrath with it?

On the other hand, going through trauma could be totally mis-handled. Anyone with a traumatic experience might think that they had a Nevuah. Medicine today has shown that people often hallucinate when going through traumatic experiences. Maybe the Navi's navuah was really just a hallucination.

The reason the Nevuah has to be an allegory is so that people can easily pretend like it was actually a Nevuah. I could dream about people in the stars and then be lie well, i had a Nevuah about my family becoming great. People in psuedo-psychology (yea Dr. Joyce) fields such as dream interpretation and "psychic" use these same tactics.

The third requirement, to be happy, doesn't make any sense. You can't be happy and hten go through a traumatic experience.

The point is, either people don't really know how people get Navis or people make up criteria so that people can easily get "nevuahs"

Yea, heretics.

~Eliana

October 29, 2006 9:27 PM  
Anonymous esti said...

well wih yonah, it doesnt say anything about his emotions, and for example, if you complement someone before you ask for something, or if you get them at a good mood, they are more likely to say yes to your requst. similarly, with yonah, maybe if like at that time in his life he was happy and had a good family then maybe he would hvae been more willing to better analyze the prophacy that hashem told him instead of jsut saying no, this doesnt seem right to me even though God told me it and he has the Jews best fortunes in mind.
Also, about the allegory, since judiasm doesnt have one answer for every law (therefore why rabbis need/ are allowed to add tings to laws) maybe its like givign the prophter a chance to decide on tthere own, with guidence from hashem waht the prophjecy really means..but if hashem wants the prophecy told to the people and then fulfilled, why wouldnt he give it in the simplest way?

October 30, 2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Tova said...

i do not necessarily fully uderstood nor agree with Rav Kaplans ideas however there can still be ways to reason/explain what he sed.
1) it makes sense that a navi had to go throught a traumatic experience for we talked about in class how a navi knew he was gonna get a nevuah, therefore this traumatic experience is what rav kaplan is explaining as gods "heads up" to the navi that a nevuah is coming. also the fact that is a truamatic expeirence rather then a more positive one fits into my idea of symbolism (which also ties in later) and it symbolising the coming seriousness, whereas s/t more positive like an exciting eperience of wtvr has long run effects of being less serious. thorugh the traumatic sistuation god is relaying an emotion of seriousness
2) now....nevuah in the form of allegory also fits in with the symbolism idea. however first of, not all nevuah is given through allegory; yakov witht he ladder for example is however yonah isnt, its actually quite straight forward. however the form of allegory can be explained as god wants to use symbolism and it also makes sense in terms of comapring allegory vs. not allegory. yonah was striahgt forward b/c god was directly telling him what to do (go to ninveh) yakovs nevuah however was not telling him wat to do however it was more a look into the future, thus hashem sed it through allegory and symbolism. i thinkt his was done purposelly b/c god didnt want to tell yakov straight forward wat was going to be, rather in the form of an allegry (since it was a look inot the future) where yakov could ponder his dream/nevuah and find the symbolism in it (in this spacific case the nations that will rule the jews)
3) lastly, being happy is quite crucial, b./c although god brings in the nevuah accurance throught a traumatizing experience, it is still (as amanda sed) a neavuah of hight spiritual level which is rly important, thus it is important for a navi to graciously listen to god, and could show this appreiciation/achnoledgement of the nevuah through happeness. whereas if he was sad it gives off and reflects a negative look on the nevuah itself, therefore it is crucial and required that a navi be happy :)

October 31, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Leora said...

i dont totally understand why a navi would have to go through a tramatic experience to recieve a nevuah....but maybe a tramatic experience in that time was much different than we view one now a days. I dont think its such an easy job being a navi and i think having an nevuah sent to him as an allegory and with its interpretation sorta keeps him in line...when having to interperate something you dont lose the meaning you find the deeper meaning behind it...i would much rather get a sign or a message from Hashem where I would have to take the time to figure out what it meant rather then getting the exact steps to what I am supposed to do...you learn much more when you have to work for it..and you feel much more accomplished

November 01, 2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that Amanda's source says that you must go through a traumatic experience in order to recieve nevuah, but look at Shmuel-he was so young when he recieved nevuah, and it was literally out of the blue, while he was asleep. There is no record of a preceding life-threatening circumstance-rather, the whole story with Chana and Shmuel's unique status in the Temple would suggest that he was practically born to be a navi.

For certain neviim, perhaps they require the "fear of God" to be shown before their eyes in order truly deserve nevuah. Shmuel may never have needed this, because the nature of his birth and family is so spiritually special, and connected to HaShem.

Right now, in relation to Amos, we're learning how you become a navi. The implication is that some children have been trained in school to take on the role of navi, because their fathers are.

I think it is a variety of things that qualify a person to be a navi, but all of them have one them in common; a special understanding and connection with HaShem that sets that individual apart from the rest of society. Indeed, this is what we look for in our leaders today, and maybe how we can transition the role of the navi to our own times.
-Tali

November 02, 2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it kinda makes sense. Like, HaShem is king. of everything. and everyone. so you need to build up your confidence. one way to feel confident is to be happy (that whole endorphin thing) so then your like totally! bring it on God, i can take it. But like, not cocky. Just confident. But then like, its God. so its gotta be intimidating. hence the traumatic experience. If an administrator we respected/were scared of really yelled at us, like crazy yelled, youd totally be scared. and itd be a traumatic experience, sorta.

Additionally, from a different post, navuah was commonly given in a dream state. As we know from psych, people can totally get freaked out during dreams and will wake up sketched out completetly. Sometimes peoples days are influenced by how their dreaming at night went. like, if you wake up happy, dont you just have a better day?

Hopes this makes sense,

~Suz

November 02, 2006 7:41 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home