Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Prophecy: When do we Need it?

posted by Shira M.

Throughout history, Hashem has had a unique relationship with the Jewish people often through many intermediaries (prophets) between Him and the Jews. These prophets were an extra step to connect Hashem and Bnei Yisroel. This means “prophecy has a social dimension. It is not simply a personal religious experience” (Schiffman, 1). On the contrary, it is something that assists many people. The prophets would guide the Jewish people and help them when they were doing something wrong. For example, when Bnei Yisroel would commit Avodah Zarah, the prophets would tell them to repent. Hashem has a level of intimacy with the Jews. He intervened, often through prophecy, into our lives when we need help, and these prophets gave Bnei Yisroel confidence in times of trouble.
Nevuah symbolizes our close, unique, and special relationship with Hashem; guiding us in times of need and warning us in times of crisis. For example, when Moshe was by the Sneh, Hashem called out to Moshe and said, “raoh raiti et ani ami asher b’mitzraim v’et tzakatam shamati mipnei nogsav ki yadati et machovav” (“I have indeed seen the suffering of My people that are in Egypt. I have heard how they cry out because of the harshness of their slave-masters, and I am aware of their pain.”) (Sh’mot 3:7). Rashi explains that this shows that Hashem has truly focused his attention on Bnei Yisroel’s pain, and that he will not ignore them. This event, when Moshe was at the Sneh, is also a type of prophecy. The Rasag, a biblical commentary, mentions that when the Torah writes the word “v’araed,” in Pasuk chet, it means that Hashem revealed himself. This shows that he came to Moshe to help Bnei Yisroel in a time of need through prophecy. Additionally, throughout our history, we see that many prophets received prophecies from Hashem to help the Jewish people when they needed assistance. Many prophets told the kings of Bnei Yisroel that the Jewish people needed to do Teshuva, and then we would do it. However, nowadays, there are no prophets and that level with Hashem is missing. If us Jews still need that helping hand and guidance, why do we not have prophets now?
Our generation and the recent generations before us never had the experience of a prophet, as they did in the ancient times. Each generation is further and further from Matan Torah. If we are expected to stay close to Judaism and have spirituality in our lives, why do we not have prophets now? How are we supposed to still have a strong connection with Hashem without direct guidance? If anything, aren’t we the ones who truly need the help of prophets?

Schiffman, Lawrence H. "Revelations From God.” MyJewishLearning.Com. 1991. .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a couple of points
1. We may NEED prophets, but in the galut we are in we do not deserve them. Prophets were, as stated in the blog an intermediary to God, and therefore gave us a close relationship. A relationship which cannot exist without the temple.
2. There were 120 thousand prophets (I think?). The vast majority of them are not even mentioned in the Tanach. Some of these prophets could have had prophecies like "sell 3 cows, so you will have money for shabbat food, so you can invite so and so....."
----something that only pertained to a specific people, at a specific time, and not elevant for future generations.

Debbie K

February 19, 2007 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

adding to debbies #1 point, we all know that we need prophets today. liek we can all tell that we are doing the wrong thing and need to do teshuva. maybe in those days, they didnt realize that what tehy were doing was wrong, but nowerdays, we know that we are doing wrong, wer jsut to lazy to change. maybe that is the differnace between them and us and why we no longer have porphets.

February 19, 2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so first I agree with both Esti and Debbie that we need navi today. However, I don't think we deserve them today, even though we need them to tell us how to become closer to Hashem. I think that we can look at past nevuahs and see where we need to improve (for instance Ezra told the Jewish people during his time to stop intermarrying and keep shabbos. Many people nowadays are intermarrying and don't keep shabbos and so we can apply what Ezra said to today). Furthermore as we learnt in class, many of the great rabbis today are a lesser degree of naviim. So we should listen to the rabbis when they tell us how to do teshuvah becuase they have ruach hakodesh in them and they are trying to repair our relationship to Hashem.


February 25, 2007 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This question can be asked about a lot of things in Judiism. Today, in the Modern Orthodox society, when so many Jews are furthering themselves from God shouldnt we have a Beit Hamikdash? A physical way to connect with Hashem. This connects with phrophets- The Beit Hamikdash is a direct connection with Hashem and so too is phrophecy. But we dont have the Biet Hamikdash anymore and so we have replaced the avodah with prayer. Furthermore, just as we have replaced the avodah, we have replaced phrophecy. Now, instead of Hashem telling us through people, I belive he releys messages throguh natural and political events. Yes, it is harder to desipher, but it is how Hashem tells us when we need to do Teshuva or when he is with us. In the 1967 war did we have to be told that Hashem was helping us win the fight and that he was by our side-no bc we saw firsthand his right arm protecting the Jewish nation. In every generation, there is a change. This is our change we no longer have neuvuah but we still have connections with God. Yes, we do need help but so did the other generations. Just as it is learned in a Gamara about Mennesah speaking about how if we had been in the times of avodah zara, we wood be running to do it. There were always times when the Jews were sinning and always times that we were at a lot. Yes then they had nevim but now we have new bonds with Hashem that will help us endure for all of time.
-Shira Zurndorfer

February 25, 2007 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Amy said...

So i agree with shira's blog. even though Mr. shiffman said that since prophecy went through a navi , it was not an individual spiritual act, i disagree. Neviim were neccesary for bnei israel to communicate with God. Not everyone is able to handle prophesy emotionally, and also obviously they didnt all have the qualifications that we learned about in class. therefore, i think prophesy was spiritually and individually fulfilling. Now, for the question as to why we dont have prophesy now. i have to disagree with debbie because when bnei israel was in galut in historical times they had prophets. so , i'd have to go with my same theory as ive given before:modern society is not prepared and would not believe in prophets. We need to either become a more spiritaul world and have masiach come, or we need a different way of communication with God.

February 25, 2007 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone has probably already said this, but i think one answer is that we do need neviim, we just dont deserve them. it is often said that the worst people of bnei israle thousands of years ago are considered tzaddikim in our time, meaning that we have gone off the derech- alot.its a shame, and i hope that we can all witness the geula bmhera byameunu, but until then ,it is our job to do as many mitzvot and teshuva as we can.
b/c i really want messiach.

February 26, 2007 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from aviva- sorry i forgot

February 26, 2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol-nice blog shira-excellent idea. Perhaps by not giving us the privilage of having neviim, Hashem is sending us a message. This message is of Hashem's changing Hashgacha (supervision or guidance) over us. After the time of Esther, and certainly beginning with the time of Esther (as Hashem's name does not appear directly in the megillah), Hashem's direct guidance became obscure, and Hashem became "nistar". Perhaps by the name esther which means hidden, and by the fact that mordechi was a navi, Hashem is trying to send us the message that yes, he'll always be with us guiding his chosen people, but no; we wont have the privilage of noticing it. And perhaps this is a test for us. In our day and age science technology, and culture have brought us so far from the primitive and simple way of life. We no longer see Hashem's guidance so clearly for we have ferthered ourseleves from spirituality. We should thus see this hardship as a test of our faith; will we give up and lose our faith in Hashem, or will we dig deeper to find him? Will we get closer and closer to a life vacant of spirituality, or will we see in a world so full of physicality that dim spark of light and faith? Will we take that extra leep in faith, or will we recieve all we are given and not look past the physicallity? For had it not been for those who chose to see God where it is not obvious, Am Yisrael, We, would not be here today.

March 01, 2007 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Dasi said...

Neviim are truly a luxury. They aided us intimes of ned and provided that extra special relationship with God. But that does not mean they were encassarily needed. Bad things happened in ancient times without the aid of prophecies. Wars occurred and tragedies were experienced. Not every seemingly signiigant detail, whether it affected all of Bnei Yisrael or an individual are outlined in NEvuot. Therefore, today, we are able to manage without a divine intermediary. Even today, we are aware of the sugei hashgachot, the differnt way in which Hashem supervises the world. Even today, this hint is our small chance at Nevuah. Knowing that Hashem will be repsonsible for, for example, the desturction of a nation is a very vague way of knowing that something is directly controlled by God. Unfortunatley, we lost the direct connection to God, but there are many Jews today who are elavated spiritually through just the acknowledgement that Hashem exists. -hadas chana

March 05, 2007 9:20 PM  
Anonymous tova said...

prophecy requires an extrodinary amount of kedushah and an extrmely high madregah, such a high madregah that i dont think anyone in our times can even imagine it. since prophecy is such a holy thing and requires such a high level of kedushah, i dont think any in our times is worthy of it.
yes of course prohecy would be very usefull nowadays, but it is one of the things we lost with the beit hamikdash. many thigns that we used ot have would be usefull and helpful to guide us on the right path, however, it is a loss that we must suffer due to the fact that we are in galut....it is our fault and a proce we must pay.
yes redemption im sure would be quiker if we had prophets to act as our intermediary, however, i guess hashem does not want to grant us with that privelage. maybe, after losing the beit hamikdash already twice, hashem in fact wants us to spacificly find and reutrn to him/the proper ways by ourselves. hashem gave us a second chance with the second beit hamikdash, and we lost that, this time in order to get a third chance we must prove to hashem that we are worthy...and perhaps hashems way of knowing this is by seeing that we have acheived it on our own without the help of others. true faith has to come on its on and has to be found for itself, not based on the words of others. yes it would be a huge help and would return many people quicker, for hashem it is worth it so to speak to wait longer and have comeplte return from the jewish nation, rather then provide help and guidance (through neeviim) and risk having traitors and another lose of the beit hamikdash/reurn into galut.

March 22, 2007 6:42 PM  

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