"The Way of G-d"
Part 3: "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural"
Chapter 3: "Inspiration and Prophecy"
Though we like to think otherwise, the human body really can't withstand
much revelation, very much spirituality, or even a smidgen of G-d's
outright. And were it to be faced with any such excesses it would "shut
the way our minds simply can't take in too much information and our hearts
refuse to tackle too much grief or sorrow.
So when a prophet -- who's a human being and physical, at bottom -- is
granted revelation, his body also shuts down in a way (though it can
more than ours could, as we'll see). He becomes overwhelmed, begins to
tremble and shake, and to feel as if "he's being turned inside out", as
it (which is to say, as if his perceptions were being ultimately challenged
and his stake in reality was being unearthed). His senses close off, his
stills (for a while), and his entire being becomes overtaken by G-d's
So great a level of revelation and d'vekut allows the prophet's soul a
of illumination that's simply unfathomable to us. It's based on the fact
his soul would be drawing from its highest root at that point and would be
attached onto G-d. The experience is far more profound and unearthly than
inspiration could ever be, and it's what sets prophets apart from the rest
The actual *process* of revelation is as follows (in short): First off, G-d's
Presence makes itself known to the prophet, it then projects itself on to
prophet's imagination, the imagination then produces mental images (which
imagination itself doesn't initiate, but rather makes use of), and those
mental images then suggest things to the prophet's rational mind which he
retains in all clarity when he withdraws from his reverie.
There are in fact numerous degrees of revelation, all the way up to Moses'
most exalted one, as we'll see in the next chapter.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org
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