Arie E. Pelta
Arie E. Pelta

Answers about Israel You Always Wanted to Know (part 2 of 13)

Prophecy

10) What is the only place in the world where one can initially receive prophecy נבואה?

Eretz Yisrael is the only place where one can initially receive prophecy. Lesser forms of prophecy are still attainable in Chutz LaAretz.

Mechilta, Parshas Bo, Mesechta DePishcha 1

Know that the Shechina does not reveal itself outside the land …Yona said, “I will go to Chutz LaAretz where the Shechina does not reveal itself

Devarim 18:15

Then Hashem your G-d will establish for you a prophet from your midst  מקרבך from your brethren, like me [Moshe]; you shall listen to him.

Ramban (Rav Moshe ben Nachman, Gerona Spain, he made Aliyah, 1194-1270).

The reason it says “from your midst”, is to allude to the fact that prophecy exists only in Eretz Yisrael.

11) How can one receive prophecy outside the Land of Israel?

Prophecy is only experienced in Chutz La’Aretz, if he already received prophecy once before in Eretz Yisrael.

Talmud Bavli, Mo’ed Kattan 25a

[Rav Huna]”Our master deserved to have the Shechina rest upon him, but Bavel caused him not to merit this. (Rashi) For the Shechina does not dwell outside the Land. Rav Chisda…Yechezkel son of Buzi the kohen in the land of the Kasdim…said,…”what does היה mean? And that it already was!”. (Rashi) …Yechezkel had already been in Eretz Yisrael, where Ruach HaKodesh rested upon him.

12) A person can only receive prophecy נבואה in Eretz Yisrael. However, when a unique exception occurs, and prophecy occurs outside The Land, can the prophecy be written down in a sefer in a foreign country? Why didn’t Yechezkel, Daniel, and Esther write their own books, rather their prophesies were written down by others?

Talmud Bavli, Bava Basra 14b-15a

The Anshei Keneses Hagedola wrote Yechezkel, Shnayim Asar (minor prophets), Daniel and Megilas Esther.

Rashi, Anshei Keneses HaGedola

Chaggai, Zecharya, Malachi, Zerubavel, Mordechai, and their collegues, wrote Yechezkel, who prophesied in the Diaspora. I do not know why Yechezkel did not write it himself, if not because a prophesy is not allowed to be written outside The Land [of Israel]. Therefore, these men wrote it after they arrived in The Land [of Israel]. The same is true of the Book of Daniel, who was in the Diaspora, and Megillas Esther.

13) When did Neviim stop receiving prophecy in Chutz LaAretz?

Eicha 2:9

Her gates have sunk into the ground…her prophets, as well, have found no vision from Hashem.

Rav Avraham Ibn Ezra (from Spain, 1089-1167), Perush HaTeamim

When the gates sunk…the prophets stopped receiving prophecy in a foreign land.

14) True prophesy has ceased to exist. Do other forms of divine communication still exist? Does Ruach HaKodesh exist today? Where in the world can one get closer to G-d and reach higher spiritual planes?

Sefer HaBris, section 2, 9:3 (Rav Pinchas Horowitz, 1765-1821, Vilna, Kabalist)

…all of the prophets arise from Yerushalayim…Moshe Rabbeinu received prophecy in Chutz LaAretz, for Eretz Yisrael was not yet chosen. Regarding Yechezkel’s prophecy outside Israel, our Sages answer…he prophesied in Eretz Yisrael first…Our master Rav Huna deserved to have the Shechina rest upon him, but Bavel caused him not to merit this…In Talmud Sanhedrin, Our Rabbis taught in a Baraisa: Once the last prophets – Chaggai, Zecharyah, and Malachi – died, Ruach HaKodesh disappeared from Israel…that is prophesy has ceased , not…Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration)…What comes out of all this is that prophesy exists only in Eretz Yisrael and only until the days of Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi. Ruach HaKodesh, however has no specific place or time. It exits  both in the Land of Israel and outside of it, in every generation, forever…Ruach HaKodesh in Chutz LaAretz…is not constant. In Eretz Yisrael…it is constant…Rav Yitzchak Luria z”l (Arizal), Ruach HaKodesh rested upon him several times in Egypt, but from the time he arrived in Eretz Yisrael, it did not leave him…

15) Where is the only place in the world the Jewish people can reach Divinity הענין האלהי ?

Sefer HaKuzari (Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi 1075-1141, physician from Spain, died in Yerushalayim), Second Essay, 12-14

…this elite nation cannot achieve Divinity anywhere else but Eretz Yisrael..Anyone who prophesied did so either in Eretz Yisrael or for Eretz Yisrael’s sake. Avraham prophesied in order to travel to Eretz Yisrael. Yechezkel and Daniel prophesied for the sake of Eretz Yisrael, (so that the Jewish people would eventually return from their exile to their Land)…As for Adam, Eretz Yisrael was the Land from which he was created…this is the land which is called “in front of  G-d” לפני ה’.

…He [Avraham] was transplanted to the place where his development could be completed [Israel]…prophecy and prophets abounded among Avraham’s progeny as long as they were living in Canaan…the preservation of purity, the observance of the commandments…

…It was if the Divinity was seeking to be G-d to someone (like the Neviim and Chassidim) who were worthy of cleaving to Him.

16) Why did Karin kill Hevel?

Sefer HaKuzari, Second Essay, 14

It was on this land [Israel] that jealousy and desire first arose between Kayin and Hevel…The one chosen would inherit Eretz Yisrael and attach himself to Divinity…Hevel was killed…Kayin left G-d’s presence (BeResishis 4:16), meaning that he was driven out of Eretz Yisrael.

17) What was the main argument between Yitzchak and Yishmael? (still true today).

Sefer HaKuzari, Second Essay, 14

Yitzchak and Yishmael struggled over Eretz Yisrael, until Yishamel was finally pushed aside as the peel כקליפה.

18) What was the rivalry between Yakov and Esav about?

Sefer HaKuzari, Second Essay, 14

Rivalry between Yakov and Esav arose over this Land [Israel], both in the form of the rights of the first born and the special blessings given by Yitzchak. Eisav was eventually pushed aside from Israel…

19) According to Rabbi HaLevi, is Eilat and the Sinai Desert part of Eretz Yisrael? What are the Northern and Southern borders of Israel, according to the Torah?

Sefer HaKuzari, Second Essay, 14

…The Sinai Desert and Paran (the location that Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam received prophecy) are both considered parts of Eretz Yisrael, because both of them are contained within the boundary of the Red Sea, of which the Torah writes, “And I will place your boundaries from the Red Sea until the until the Pilishtim Sea, and from the desert until the river (Shemos 23:31).” The “desert” in this verse refers to the Paran desert…This is the southern border or Eretz Yisrael. The “river” refers to the Euphrates River, which is the northern border of Eretz Yisrael.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. Received Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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