The Next Jewish Frontier: Prophecy

First, what is “prophecy”? Fools and madmen are a mere “taste”. Nor do I speak of Divine Inspiration, of various levels. Nor of asking a school boy what he learned that day. Nor… No. I mean the actual legal (halachic) category. The true “Navi” is one who is accepted by a Jewish court for having performed a miraculous sign in the presence of two kosher Jewish witnesses.

This is not a joke. See Maimonides, Foundations of the Torah, chapter 7, end:

Not everyone who performs signs or wonders should be accepted as a prophet: only a person who is known to be fit for prophecy beforehand; i.e., his wisdom and his [good] deeds surpass those of all his contemporaries. If he follows the paths of prophecy in holiness, separating himself from worldly matters, and afterwards performs a sign or wonder and states that he was sent by God, it is a mitzvah to listen to him, as [Deuteronomy 18:15] states: “Listen to him.”

It is possible that a person will perform a sign or wonder even though he is not a prophet – rather, the wonder will have [another cause] behind it. It is, nevertheless, a mitzvah to listen to him. Since he is a wise man of stature and fit for prophecy, we accept [his prophecy as true], for so have we been commanded.

[To give an example of a parallel:] We are commanded to render a [legal] judgment based on the testimony of two witnesses. Even though they may testify falsely, since we know them to be acceptable [as witnesses], we presume that they [are telling the truth].

Considering these matters and the like, [Deuteronomy 29:28] states: “The hidden matters are for God, our Lord, but what is revealed is for us and our children,” and [I Samuel 16:7] states: “Man sees what is revealed to the eyes, but God sees into the heart.”

Jews must seek prophecy anew. This is not mere preference. We need a prophet for the various upcoming stages of Jewish history, such as building the Temple, establishing priestly lineage (“yichus”), waging wars, kingship, identifying the true Messiah, and more.

Originally one prophet would teach another, in special schools for this purpose. See Derech Hashem Part Three 4:2, “On Prophecy”:

ענין המתלמדים בנבואה

וממה שצריך שתדע שהנה לא יגיע הנביא אל המדריגה העליונה בפעם אחת אבל יעלה מעלה אחר מעלה עד הגיעו אל הנבואה השלימה. ויש בדבר התלמדות כמו כל שאר החכמות והמלאכות שיעלה האדם במדריגותיהם עד שיעמוד על בורין. וזה ענין”בני הנביאים” שהיו עומדים לפני הנביא להתלמד בדרכי הנבואה מה שהיה מצטרך לזה.

But can it be done all alone, in our orphaned age, without teachers who are themselves prophets? I think so. We simply cannot wait until Techiyas Hameisim (the Resurrection of the Dead). The temple will be rebuilt before the Resurrection of the Dead, see Rabbi Brand‘s proofs here (towards the end)!

Restoring true prophecy is a DIY (Do It Yourself) project. This is no different than the renascent Sanhedrin project, and maybe better.

So? Forget yeshivas for Kabbalah. Who wants to be the first to open “Yeshivat Bnei Hanevi’im”? The line between madness and ‘vision’ is always thin. Come on… You know you want to!

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