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20. What is Prophecy?
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Prophecy is the ability to receive and decode Divine emanations. It is the highest spiritual level to which a person can aspire as it requires a highly-developed imaginative prowess (by which we mean the ability to conceive of things not perceived through the usual five senses – refer to Aristotle’s concept of “imagination” or “phantasia”). […]
19. Moshe’s Unique Level of Prophecy
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In the Mishneh Torah (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 7:6) and his commentary on the Mishnah (Sanhedrin chapter 10), the Rambam gives four ways in which the prophecy of Moshe is different from that of other prophets. He declines to revisit this topic in Moreh Nevuchim as too great a departure from his main subject since the […]
18. The Revelation at Sinai
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The Rambam tells us that it is obvious from the Torah that what Moshe experienced at Sinai was very different from what everyone else saw and heard. [II, 33] Only Moshe was actually addressed by God, which is why the Torah uses the second-person singular.1 Moshe’s unique role is evident from such verses as Deuteronomy […]
17. Who Can Be a Prophet?
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The articles in this series are based upon ideas expressed in the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed). Numbers in brackets represent the book and chapter of Moreh Nevuchim where these ideas are discussed. NOTE: The practical applications of who can receive prophecy clearly only apply at a time when one could receive […]
16. Multiple Meanings in the Creation Account
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The articles in this series are based upon ideas expressed in the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed). Numbers in brackets represent the book and chapter of Moreh Nevuchim where these ideas are discussed. Many words in the creation account have more than one meaning. For example, the Torah tells us (Genesis 1:5) […]
15. The Simultaneity of Creation
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The articles in this series are based upon ideas expressed in the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed). Numbers in brackets represent the book and chapter of Moreh Nevuchim where these ideas are discussed. The Rambam previously stated [II, 25] that, were there sufficient scientific proof, he would have no difficulty writing off […]
14. Miracles and “Nothing New Under the Sun”
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Last time, we concluded with a Talmudic dictum (Sanhedrin 97a) about the world lasting for 6,000 years, which the Rambam demonstrates should not be taken literally, as the quote continues that the world will then be a wasteland for 1,000 years – a clear indication that it must still exist! It must also be noted […]
13. Did the Prophets Foretell the End of the World?
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If you hear someone speaking a language you’ve never heard before, you would still recognize the sounds coming out of his mouth as speech. In the stranger’s language, you may perceive a word here and there that sound like words in your own language. Not only might these words mean different things to the two […]
12. Did the Universe Always Exist?
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The articles in this series are based upon ideas expressed in the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed). Numbers in brackets represent the book and chapter of Moreh Nevuchim where these ideas are discussed. Did the universe always exist? No. We believe it was created, as per the Torah’s narrative of creation. And […]