Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart:

Section 7, Chapter 5

1. This whole issue is puzzling, for as any astute reader could point out, we’ve been taught that no one “saw an image of any sort on the day that G-d spoke” on Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:15). So how could anyone -- even a prophet -- claim to be subject to visions?

In fact, there are a couple of other contradictions when it comes to this. Didn’t we already cite the verse that indicated that G-d spoke to Moses “face to face” and that he saw “G-d as He is” (Numbers 12:8) which would confirm the idea of visions? Along the same lines, didn’t Ezekiel report in the course of his great and terrifying vision of the heavens that “on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man” (Ezekiel 1:26)?

Yet weren’t we told, “to whom (or, what) then can you liken Me … says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25), as well as “with whom (or, what), then, will you compare G-d? To what image will you liken him?” (Isaiah 40:18), which would then deny the idea of seeing things that represent G-d’s presence?

What, then, did the prophets envision, and what did they derive from what they were allowed to see?

2. You certainly couldn’t say that G-d had the prophets sin by seeing things they weren’t permitted to; what G-d did to the prophet, according to Ramchal, was to “make him wise, and to set him upon the truth”. That is, G-d saw to it that each prophet would “grasp the truth” of what he was actually observing -- and that he would know the limitations of his visions.

For, as we explained already, prophetic insight was unlike any other sort of insight in the natural world. As the prophet fully understood the unquestionable deep intent behind everything he was privileged to see.

And he knew for a fact and without question that it was G-d Himself or one of His appointed angels who was revealing something to him; that he was being granted important information; and, most importantly for our purposes, that the prophet wasn’t to stare head-on upon what he was being allowed to see -- either literally or figuratively.

That’s to say, not only wasn’t he allowed to peer upon what he was seeing, he also wasn’t allowed to ruminate upon it too long in his mind. For what he was privy to was a prophetic glimpse into the truth of things put symbolically that had the power to reveal something that needed to be known, but could easily be misunderstood.

And the prophet was also made to know that he wasn’t seeing G-d Himself, which is simply impossible, but rather that he was being granted a quick, short-lived image that G-d wanted him to see just then that represented His will and intentions for humankind {1}.


[1] For kabbalistic references to this chapter see R’ Shriki’s note 182 and R’ Goldblatt’s note 87 on p. 490 of his edition.


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 PINCHAS AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

A Hopeful Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

See, Hear, Observe, and Emulate
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Vov of Connection-Vov of Division
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Not So Simple, Not So Mundane
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Standing Up to the Prevailing Winds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Continuity or Bust
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

17th of Tammuz: Why We Fast - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Tempered Blessing
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Because I Want To
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

ArtScroll

Fragile Peace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

No Little Things
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

To Win the Baal Game!
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Moshe's Last Stand
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757



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