Ani Maamin 07

30 Aug 2006

Seventh of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith laid down by the Rambam in the twelfth century, and the second of the four principles relating to the Authority and Authenticity of the Torah, the nature of Prophecy, and the Prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu, A”H:

“I believe with complete faith that the Prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu, A”H, was true, and that he was the ‘Father of the Prophets’ – both those who preceded him and those who followed him.”

The Rambam describes the characteristics of Moshe Rabbeinu, A”H, such that he reached the summit of human potential, and reached the level of the Angels; there was no barrier which he did not break through, and he remained a “pure intellect.”

The Rambam lists five ways in which the Rambam surpassed all other Prophets:

1) All other Prophets required angelic intermediaries to facilitate their Prophecy, but Moshe did not, as HaShem says about him, describing their encounters with, so to speak, “person-to-person” language: “ ‘mouth-to-mouth’ do I speak with him.” (BaMidbar 12:8)

2) All other Prophets were able to receive Prophecy only while asleep, in a dream, or while in a dream-like trance, but Moshe Rabbeinu, A”H, was able to receive Prophecy awake and fully conscious.

3) All other Prophets were terrified and shaken to the core by their experience of Prophecy, but Moshe experienced no such “Fear and Trembling” while engaged in receiving Prophecy, and remained calm during his Prophetic Encounters with G-d, “as a person would speak to his friend,” because of the strength of his attachment to his Intellect.

4) All other Prophets could not initiate Prophetic Encounters, but Moshe Rabbeinu could, as we see from his remarks to the group of people who complained of having been excluded from the Pesach Sacrifice, because of their uncleanness, (BaMidbar 9:8) “Stand here and wait until I hear what HaShem will command regarding your situation.”

5) All other Prophets, when their Prophetic Encounters were over, returned to their normal life and their spouses. Moshe, because of his great holiness and the fact that he was permanently on call to the Holy One, Blessed is He, could not resume marital relations with Tzipporah. When Miriam and Aharon reproved him for this behavior, HaShem took them out of the camp, explained the tremendous gap that existed between Moshe and other Prophets, that made this behavior necessary. Miriam, who had initiated the criticism of Moshe, was punished with leprosy; Moshe prayed to HaShem to heal her, and she was healed after seven days.

The poetic rendering of this Principle in “Yigdal” is as follows:

“In Israel none like Moshe rose again –

A Prophet who received his vision clearly.”