June 24, 2018, Israel
Would it not be great if God spoke to us directly? Would it not be great if some all knowing powerful force made decisions for us? Told us how to vote? how to invest our money?
Wouldn't it be great if that responsibility were transferred to a higher force and we did not have to deal with it ourselves?
We Jews believe that prophecy ended long ago. According to our tradition the period of prophecy, i.e. God communicating directly and clearly to individuals, ended around 2,500 years ago. Many believe that Malachi was the last of the Hebrew prophets.
So what do we do now?
The Talmud, tractate Bava Batra, page 12 A gives us the answer, "A wise man is preferable over a prophet".
This statement is powerful beyond our understanding.
The Holy Sabbath, I am sitting with a friend of more than 30 years. I am privileged to see his wonderful children, now all grown and following in the ways of our people. The Sabbath, peace, tranquility. He shares a story with me, a story of a rabbi I knew quite well.
The rabbi was Rabbi Meir David Kahane, of blessed memory, may God avenge his death, and the story takes place perhaps 40 years ago.
My friend Steve, was a young journalist and was asked to interview the rabbi. The rabbi was known as far out, radical and controversial. He espoused ideas that main stream Jewish leaders did not like. He created the JDL, the Jewish Defense League and told Jews, myself included, that we must train in martial arts. Yes, and he created a summer camp where young Jews would learn karate. Like Ze'ev Jabotinsky before him he advocated Jews learning to use firearms.
My friend interviewed the rabbi. He told me he walked out of the interview, took his notes, crumbled them out and threw them in the trash can. He called his editors and said, there is nothing here we can publish. The man is a stark raving lunatic.
And then Steve turned to me and he said, and now, all these years later, I look back and I see that every word the rabbi spoke came true.
How I wish he saved those notes!
Sadly Steve only remembers a little from that interview. But what he remembers says a great deal. In those days we recognized Yasser Arafat and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) for what it was; a blood thirsty group of vicious terrorists with historical ties to Nazi Germany, bent on the total destruction of the State of Israel.
Yasser Arafat, or Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa, devoted his life to murder and hatred. At the time no decent person ever condoned or approved of this treacherous individual. What did the good rabbi say, all those years ago?
He outlined for young Steve what would happen; America would come to embrace this terrorist, the American government would support the so called Palestinian claims the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The "Palestinian" cause would become mainstream and the USA would be a major backer.
Nonsense, though Steve and all rational people at the time, this could never happen, this would never happen. No one would take leave of their senses and endorse such a platform! It was unthinkable, clearly the rabbi was a "stark, raving, lunatic"
Only it all happened, just as the rabbi said, for a wise man is preferable over a prophet. Every American administration in recent history endorsed the "Palestinian" platform and pressured Israel into "painful compromises". Even the Liberal American Jews and certainly the universities, turned against Israel. The unthinkable has happened and the true Lunatics have emerged and identified themselves.
We no longer have prophecy but we have wisdom, if we chose to use it. Prophecy may have ended 2,500 years before you were born but the words of the ancient prophets of Israel are still with us and the wisdom is there for those who open their eyes. For a wise man is preferable over a prophet.
We have been given the tools to find the answers, all that we lack is the will to act.
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