Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart

Section 7, Chapter 3

1. Just what did the prophets see and know? As one of them put it, G-d “spoke to the prophets, (and also) gave them many visions and related parables through them” (Hosea 12:11), in the course of dreams and while they were awake. That’s to say that the prophets were granted visions that served as images, metaphors, similes, symbols, or representations of G-d’s ways in the world. The exception to that was the prophecy of Moses, the greatest prophet of all, to whom G-d spoke “mouth to mouth; in a vision (of the literal truth) and not in riddles” (Numbers 12:8).

But the visions that the prophets had weren’t the products of rigorous intellectual insights or of profound reckoning. Their insights came to them from up above rather than from deep within. And they understood that what was granted them was a sure and doubtless revelation rather than something that could be argued with or countered. For not only did they receive figures of speech that would express what they needed to say to the people, they were also granted sure insight into its meaning and significance, and into the fact that it was something that G-d Himself wanted to pass along.

2. Understand, though, that the prophets were privy to different sorts of images overall: those that depicted various aspects of G-d’s “personality” in the world, if you will; and those that depicted His actions.

There would be times, for example, when G-d wanted to express His beneficence and mercy to a prophet, so He’d seem to appear as a kindly elder (see Daniel 6:9); and other times He wanted to express His might against those who seem to thwart His wishes, so He’d appear as a warrior (see Mechilta, Yitro 20:2; also see Chagiga 14a for both examples).

Examples of images that speak to His actions in the world -- which were often arcane and perplexing -- include Jeremiah’s almond-staff (Jeremiah 1:11) and the boiling pot (Ibid. v. 13), Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:12), Ezekiel’s scroll (Ezekiel 3:1), Zachariah’s measuring basket (Zachariah 5:6) as well as his golden Menorah-lamp (Ibid. 4:2), etc. The import and underlying message behind these sorts of images weren’t obvious to the prophet at first any more than they were to the others who experienced it, but G-d soon clarified them [2].

[1] For kabbalistic references to this chapter see R’ Shriki’s note 179

[2] See Derech Hashem 3:4: 1-2 as well as chapter 7 of Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah for a discussion of all this.


Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various locations on the Web.


 

ARTICLES ON NASO:

View Complete List

Hair-Raising Episode
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Just to Silence the Mind
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Individuality in the Context of a Whole
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Channels of a Different Type
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Faith in Motion
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Message to Manoach and His Wife: Go Beyond The Letter of the Law
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Spirituality Between People
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Nicknames for the Torah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

ArtScroll

For Him the Bell Tolls
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Respectful Repeats
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Play It Again, Schloomiel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

> Something to Wine About
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Life, the Bigger Picture -- Say Cheese!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Be Committed
Shlomo Katz - 5773

The Missing 18 Months
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information