Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The חכם and the נביא

The Gemara on Bava Batra 12a writes the following:

Abdimi from Haifa said: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from the prophets and given to the wise. Is then a wise man not also a prophet? — What he meant was this: Although it has been taken from the prophets, it has not been taken from the wise. Amemar said: A wise man is even superior to a prophet, as it says, And a prophet has a heart of wisdom. Who is compared with whom? Is not the smaller compared with the greater? (Soncino translation)
R’ Yosef ibn Migash (the teacher of the Rambam), commenting on this Gemara, writes the following:
. . . a חכם is thus superior to a prophet: for a prophet only relates that which he heard and that which was placed in his mouth to repeat, while a חכם relates a tradition given to Moses at Sinai, even though he had never heard it [from anyone]! (qtd. in The Jewish Political Tradition Vol I. Ed. Walzer et al. pg. 260)
In contrast, the Ramban writes that this Gemara “means to say that although the prophecy of the prophets – by means of image and vision – was lost, the prophecy of the sages – by means of the intellect – was not lost. Rather, they know the truth from the holy spirit which [dwells]
within them." (ibid).

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

firstly, im kinda having some issues with this. although it is explained by Ramban that only the "physical " form of prophecy was lost, and not the intellectual, and tht the intellectual is not as "holy" as the spiritual, i hve an issu with that. firstly, and intellectual prohpecy/reasoning should be consideered greater than a physical one, for in order to reach an intellectual connection with God, one has to rezach God through his own volition, and doesnt jsut find himself in the situation and Moshe, Yonah and many of the other Neviim did. On the other hand, how cna we say that the sages/ Rabbi's are greater than our prophets, if prophets provided for such a direct connection with God, shouldnt htey be consiidered on a higher level? and if so, why were the "higher" ones "stripped of their powers" while the less spiritual ones continued to be able to connect? perhaps it is because with the Chorbanm, came the evening of the playing feild in Judaism, aka the heirarchy in Judaism was lessened. Although Kohanim are still extra holy, after the Chorban they did not have to be Tahor allt he time, and were kind of more even on the holiness factor with Bnei Yisrael. Similarly, with the destructrion {excluding Jeremiah) the playing feidl for a co0nneciton with God was evened out more, allowing those with great minds to be able to connect with God, not only those specifically chosen by Him.

~tamar

May 30, 2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok first of all in order to be a navi (despite certain exceptions) we learned that you need to be a talmid chacham. if this is indeed true we do not need to compare the two because clearly all the navis were talmidi chachamim so the comparison is irrelevent considering its one of the credentials. secondly it sounds like what the Rambam is saying about this Gamara is that talmidi chachamim simply still have roach hakodesh which yes, is still great and still way greater then the rest of us and on a much higher level then the rest of us but clearly not on the level of a navi. this does not mean that talmidi chachamim today are any less then those in the time of the Beit Hamikdash but simply because no one now can be as close with Hashem as we once were. this also alludes what we discussed about kedusha in class and how the malachim know that they arent even allowed near where Hashem is. through this we can learn that regardless how hard we try their are certain boundaries of closeness to Hashem that we simply cant break so even though i think it is a really nice thought i dont think that talmedi chachamim today should be thought of as superior or compare to the naviim. however, i think there is something to be said with their leadership for even though they are more removed from Hashem ,in my opinion, than naviim i think they lead us far better then the naviim ever did. i think this can show us that sometimes being removed from Hashem can really help someone grow spiritually for i think you can only really become close with Him on your own and over comming certain realities about life
-rachel

June 04, 2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Kel said...

I think that all Naviim were wise men//chachamim and had to have been in order to be considered a navi, therefore obviously now that there are no neviim, the wise men are the next best thing to leading our nation. Although they dont have the same connection to Hashem as Neviim did, they are wise -haha get it cos they are wise men?!!- about the situtations in which they are guiding us with, and not only make their own exmaples by which we should live by, but they utilizie other previous examples in history to learn what to do and what not to do and then pass that down to us , along with morals, and ways to live. I don't think necessarily though that since "prophecy" was destroyed after the destruction of the beit hamikdash that it was then passed down to the wise men, however, the wise men are the only ones who figured out how to live by Hashems standards and are therefore seen as the next best thing to a prophet because the chachamim learn lots of torah and have seen many exmaples of the way beni yisrael has acted and now teach us that we cannot act that way or else we will get punsihed by Hashem. Because we have the torah, navi etc. along with chacahmim, we don't exactly need prophets because we learn from bnei yisraels mistakes ti learn from and the chachamim utlizie this to make our lives in alignment with the way Hashem would want us to live.

June 04, 2007 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The underlying issue in this blog, seems to be enforcing faith in "torah lo bashamayim he", the "divine" power among the sages and faith in their Halachot's credibility. Essentially, because we no longer have prophets to guide us and be direct messengers from God, we need another form of guidence. We therefore have halachot, which are ways rabbis try to help us apply Judaism to our lives. We rely on the tradition of Smechah rather than prophecy. Yet there's a catch. Nowadays there's smechah, yet not true smecha, because wev'e lost the tradtiton from Moshe. And yet, we rely on these people to interpret the Torah for us. Though i agree with the idea behind being lead by those who have such wisdom mentioned in this blog, these people are still people. Consequently, how are we to know to rely on such interpretation of divine scripture, when those who interpret the scripture are mear people with faults and biased observation. In result, i honor this wisdom mentioned in the blog, yet i can't help but be skeptical at accepting what these sages say based on the assumption that they have "divine wisdom". -Arella

June 04, 2007 11:40 PM  
Anonymous ally said...

So I dont really understand the question present, but I'll just go on about what I understand from this blog thingie. Both wisdom and prophecy are gifts from God. But the key difference is prophecy can be easily taken away by God's choice without a physical accident or damage, but wisdom can not. If a Navi got a cuncussion, his wisdom could of dissapeared, but it's not like he could just lose his prophetic visions. Like Ramban says, although the prophecy of the prophets – by means of image and vision – was lost, the prophecy of the sages – by means of the intellect – was not lost. The prophecy is conveyed as an image (physical) and wisdom as intellect (deep inside). When the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed, it was a physical object removed from the Jews. Thus, prophecy was taken away from the prophets. But was a man's deep intellect taken away? No. Ok I really didnt make any sence sorry!

June 05, 2007 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand what the overarching question of the blog is but I dont really understand why it needs to be asked. Clearly we see that now a days there is no such thing as nevuah or the prophecy that was recieved in the times of the beit hamikdash and the kedusha etc. Answering the (rhetorical) question the gemera asks at the end i would have to say the answer that most would say would be clearly the wise man is in comparison to the navi because the navi is on such a higher level. But as we learnt in how some neviim recieve their profecy we can see that you have to have learned in order to be a potential navi. In this resepct i think that a wise man is what a navi is being compared to since the wise man is really what comes before the navi. I think that the concept of the navi was taken away not only for the reason that the beit hamikdash was destroyed therefore gods presence left but that because we were unable to hold the idea and act in the way of kedusha and the laws that the next step to the wiseman was taken away; why should we have more priveleges. (hope this is coherent) IRIS

June 05, 2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous tova said...

so this blog between a chacham and a navi reminds me of our discussion in class about the difference bwteen a navi and a t'zofe. as we expalined in class a prophets is more someone who relays the message he was told whereas the tzofe is there to actually help and guide / advice beni yisrael. i think this is similar to the difference between a chacham and a prophet. the prophet just recieves the message and delivers it to the nation, whereas the chacham is the rold model to help guide and adivce the nation.
although a chacham and a prophet have similar characteristics (in that a prphet is wise and a wise man has prophecy), they are not interchangable.
i agree with rambam in that chachamin, after there were no longer prphets, recieved what we say as ruach hakodesh. i think rashi is a good example of this: Rashi was a chacham and recieved the intellect frmo Hashem, yet we dont mark him as a navi.

June 05, 2007 8:22 PM  
Blogger JesusOverIsrael said...

if you write to me at mpkinusa@yahoo.com i will send you a letter i wrote about this to a russian orthodox christian who claims that the catholic concept of papal supremacy is modelled on this jewish concept of chacham adif lenavi!

July 23, 2009 1:52 PM  
Blogger JesusOverIsrael said...

forgot to include my other blog:

www.scribd.com/JesusOverIsrael

i am a former breslov chassid who converted to Christianity in year 2000.

July 23, 2009 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the pull to christianity in your case is purely because you crave redemption and want to be saved. Take heart and return to Judaism: Hashem's word is truth, and he will make Israel into a nation that dwells in peace as he told us through Moshe and Bilaam.

August 05, 2009 11:04 PM  
Blogger JesusOverIsrael said...

thanks for reading and writing.

August 07, 2009 12:18 PM  
Blogger JesusOverIsrael said...

you are exactly right that i was desperate for redemption and salvation, especially after witnessing things like this in the breslov chassidic movement:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14044923/Appeal-Warning-to-Followers-of-Yisrael-Odesser

August 07, 2009 12:52 PM  

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