Friday, November 10, 2006


In the Tanach training program that I attended today, Rabbi Leibtag said the following:
"A Navi's job is not to predict events, but to shape them."

What do you think? Given your knowledge of the various prophets you've studied in this and other classes, do you agree or disagree with R' Leibtag?

A priori -- without resorting to historical precedent -- what do you think the Navi's role should be?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sweet, im the first to comment. well i wanna give an example form this series of books i used to read in which there were four girls who all had secret powers, {dont make fun of me it was back in the day aka yesterday} anwyay one of the girls had "prophecies" or as they called it, premonitions,. before she understood that she had a speical power she thought she was somehow making her visions come true. later on she leanrs about her true identity as a protector of the people on earht {whatdver its complicateD} and she realizes that she doesnt cause the visions to ahappen, they jsut warn her about what will happen. altohugh she has never been abel to sotp her visions from coming true the forewarning about a certian situation gives her the ability to prepare for it and make the consequences good, fir example if she saw someone falling off a cliff she could get someone to put like a net or something there sto make sure the person doesnt die. anwyay i tihnk it relates to your question becasue i tihnk that naivs to aslo shape events, by warning yisrael about what is going to occur, and by changing the situation to get a certain consequence the navi shapes the situation instead of jsut seeing it. i tihnk that if one sees into the future their automatically going to do something to make sure it does or doesnt happen with certain consequences, i tihnk its impossible for the navis role to be jsut seeing these things wihtout doing anything because that goes agianst human nature of acting and that Hashem created people that way knwoing that if they have a premonition or vision thye will go about to make it happen or try to not make it happen.

~tamar schneck

November 10, 2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...

I think the navi could be seen as shaping events rather than predicting them. B/c, like, the navi will say "doom is upon us!" and people will repent, thereby shaping events, rather than predicting the demise of the world bc the people repent. so yeah, the people will respond to what s/he says and their response will shape events.

and responding to the latter half of the post, i think the navi should do exactly that. s/he encourages the people to act in a certain way or tells them things that s/he knows will encourge them to act in a certain way. Its not merely "doom is upon us" its more "doom is upon us (and what are you going to do about it?)"
s/he helps the people understand what's going on and how they can fix themselves to correct what ever is wrong in their world/life, is how I look at it.

Have a wonderful motzei shabbat!


November 11, 2006 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totally agree with Rabbi Leibtag because a navi's main function is in his current time. For instance, though he/she might predict the future or highlight the past, a navi will do so primarily for the purpose of ratifying the people's behavior of that specific time. For example, when we read aicha, though i know we havn't learnt it yet, the navi notes what will happen with chorban beit hamikdach primarily in order to have the people of his time repent. Though we today might be able to learn from his prophecies, his main function was to predict what will happen to his generation in order to "shape" or influence the people and the time. A navi will never simply predict what will happen in the future for the sake of it. The navi will always do so for a reason-usually to influence people and warn them of the consequences of their immoral actions.-arella

November 11, 2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dono cause like with yona, when yona didnt want to say his nevuah, hashem made all these sprcial things (the big fish and the storm) happen until yona agreed to tell the other nation to repent or else they would be destoryed. so it kinda seemed like hashem would wait until yona would tell the nation before destroying them, since if yona agreed rihgt awya then everything would have happened that day, not a few days later once yona had told them.
- esti

November 12, 2006 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Shira M said...

I somewhat agree with Rabbi Leibtag, and I think that Navi's get their Nevuah and say their Nevuah so that the people would act upon it. However, I think the Navi is doing both. He is predicting what will happen in the future, but the people can change it. For example, Suzanne said the navi will say "doom is upon us." And that is true if the people do not change their ways. However if they do repent than doom is not upon them. I guess I do not actually think that the Navi shapes the future, I think he helps in shaping the future. The people decide what their future is like. The Navi predicts the future the way that the people are acting rite now and then the people either change or dont change. The Navi's job is to warn the people with what is going to happen as of now, but the Nevuah can change.

Now what do I think the Navi's role should be? Well thats a hard one. I would have to say that I think the Navi's job should be exactly what I said before. They should be there to guide the people. They predict the future but it can still change according to what the people's response is.

November 12, 2006 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Overall I agree with Shira, but I would like to take her thought one step further.
No two Navi's can recieve the same prophecy, because all people are different. However two Navi's can recieive the same message. Inevitably a Navi is going to personalise the nevuah, and the way he tells the nevuah to his specific audience. But I do not believe it is his Job to shape the way the people respond...because then they could be persuaded, and not truly mean to fulfill the prophecy.

November 12, 2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous raydott said...

I think a navi definetly shapes events, but not always intentionally. when Yonah went through ninveh, he said "ninveh will be destroyed in 40 days"...he never told them that doing teshuva will stop the destruction of the city. the kind then suggests that they do teshuva, but not because yonah told them to. while in the end, yonah did not predict the future (because ninveh wasnt actually destroyed), and he did shape it (since his prediction caused ninveh to change), his intention was simply to predict the future to them. even though he did not want ninveh to be destroyed (for the benefit of bnei yisrael), when he eventually, and slightly bitterly delviered the message to them he did not suggest any change, which shows that he did not try to shape the future. he did shape it however, which maybe shows the inivetibility of a navi's influence on future events.

November 13, 2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Tova said...

i fully agree with rabbi leibtag for hashem is the one who tells a navi what going to haapen and the apcific event however from there the navi by himselves decides how to shape it out. a navi doesnt voluntarily make up whats going to happen rrather hashem gives him the nevuah aka hashem is predicting the events and pasisng it on the a navi to then go and follow through with whatever actions. therefor hashemis the one who predecits the events, relays it throught a nevuah to any specidifc navi, and the the navi, with his free will, shapes out/ follows throught in any given way the nevuah.
for example...yonah....hashem told him and predicted the events of the city of ninveh, and yonah choice how to shape it on (in this spacific case he ran away)
secondly with moshe and the nevuah by the burning bush. hashem told moshe about the jews in mitzrayim and predicted the events and the number of yrs they were going to stay there.....and then from that point it was moshes duty to go and take them out of mitzrayim. but moshe himself was no the one who preditced the events, he was told by god and then he followed them through.

therefor i can strongly say that i 100% agree with rabbi leibtag for a navi can not himself predict anything its always throught god. navi is a divine inspiration...emphasis on the DIVINE aka he is not predicting any such even himself

November 14, 2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that rabbi leibtag is 100% right in saying that because of what we have seen in yonah and various other sfrei tanach. yonah told the people of ninveh that if they dont to teshuva then they will be destroyed or what not. But i want to add to something rachel said. a navi's biased opinion may lead him to scew the mission or prediction of events to one side. for instance when we discussed yonah there were many reasons as to why yonah didnt want to "prohesize" the nevuah because of his relasionship with benei yisroel and his thoughts on a developing connection (good or bad) between ninveh and benei yisroel. and plus just like a lot of people baiscally said, why would any person listen to a man predicting the future. helping a nation shape their future events is the same idea as having a sort of lifelong planner if you will.
-iris wertheimer

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

I think , in response to R' Leibtag's comment, I am in agreement. However I can agree only with a slight alteration of his comment. I think that a navi's job is to not only predicts events but also to shape them. This changes the meaning of the actual comment, as I am well aware. But how can a navi's job be only to shaping the nevuah, that should be the people's responsibility as well. Maybe I'm reading to deeply into it but it's not just up to the navi to shape the course of following events. I also don't think that a navi should intentionally try to shape the course of events. Yonah tried to and he ended up being swallowed by a leviathan. A navi should be aware of his actions just like everyone should be but why should he try to shape all of his nevuot according to the way he believes that would be best?

November 18, 2006 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Leora said...

I agree with Rabbi Leibtag, i think that naveim were chosen to be prophets for a reason---to get hashems message across to the people. Naveim are not Hashem for a reason and there is only one God. When Naveim are given prophecies from Hashem I think they have the will to deliver to Yisroel in whatever fashion they want allowing them to "shape the events" rather than prediciting the events of the nevuah because that is Hashems job.

December 03, 2006 5:53 PM  

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