With an Eye on Eternity - Chapter 7

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With an Eye on Eternity

Chapter 7

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7. On Prophecy and the Prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu

The Master of the Universe desired and prepared a variety of revelations by which He might be revealed to men while they are still alive in our lower world. He did this so that he could reveal Himself to them and inform them about matters which He wished them to know. Among these are His hidden matters and secrets (mistorov u'sodosov) His Divine Providence or Supervision (hashgachah), and that which He plans to bring upon His creations. These kinds of revelations are called prophecy (nevuah).

Such revelation emerges through a specific course which the wisdom of G-d saw most fitting to employ for this purpose. In it there are various levels. However, the general rule in all prophecy is that it is crystal clear to the prophet that what is being revealed to him is G-d's own glory. The prophet understands fully what He reveals to him; absolutely no doubts remain regarding the nature of his prophecy.

When such revelation comes to a prophet, the revelation is preceded by a great trembling; all the organs of his body quiver; and his [conscious] senses cease to function. During this state he is similar to one who is asleep. While in this deep sleep certain visions appear to him. It is through these visions which he perceives the revelation of G-d's glory and he understands that which the Highest Will (ratzon haelyon) desires to make known to him.

Besides the higher knowledge which the prophet gains by the revelation of prophecy, another factor is involved. One who merits and achieves the stature of the prophet must as a prerequisite be bound upin a close attachment to the Creator. For the perspective of such a close relationship, the stature of the prophet is one of greatness. He achieves thereby the ability to perform miracles and wonders. The extent to which a prophet can perform them is dependent upon the level of attachment he has attained.

One must realize, however, that the levels of all prophets of all time are lower and are greatly removed from the level of Moshe Rabeinu's prophecy. Every man who merits prophecy may reach any one of these graduated levels, but the prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu is a unique level which was given solely to him. It is impossible for any other person ever to achieve that level.

Directly under the level of prophecy there is a level called ruach hakodesh which is Divine inspiration. Ruach Hakodesh refers to an emanation transmitted from G-d to the mind of man. When it reaches man the knowledge of a particular matter is firmly implanted in his mind in a way which is free of all doubts and errors. He knows the subject perfectly - he can understand its reasons and details, and he can place everything in its proper perspective.

Through this divine inspiration one is able to understand those very same matters which fall into the boundaries and grasp of natural intellect. The advantage of understanding through ruach hakodesh rather than through normal intellectual resources is this: through ruach hakodesh the understanding comes about effortlessly and is free of any error or doubts. Neither characteristic is present when knowledge is absorbed by conventional methods of learning. Moreover, ruach hakodesh makes it possible to perceive matters which lie outside the confines of natural human understanding. Examples of this category of special knowledge are "concealed" Higher Knowledge and seeing into the future (hanistaros v'haasidos).

Ruach hakodesh is sensed by those who attain it. The recipient recognizes without any doubts that it is a divine inspiration which is being channeled down to him. Also, occasionally an inspiration is transmitted to the heart of man which provides him with the essential understanding of a specific matter without the recipient sensing the source of it. It comes to him in the same way that a thought suddenly pops into one's mind. Those thoughts in this category which suddenly pop into our minds may also be loosely termed, although not fully faithful to the term, ruach hakodesh.

Chapter 6 | Table of Contents | Chapter 8
This Book in One Big Document

With an Eye on Eternity is published by
The Kest-Lebovits Jewish Heritage and Roots Library
and is distributed by Feldheim Publishers
© 1994 Rabbi Yehudah Lebovits

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