Maamar HaIkarim by R. M.Ch. Luzzatto Chapter 7 - Concerning Prophecy
and the Prophecy of Moshe


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Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

7. Concerning Prophecy

and the Prophecy of Moshe

The Lord blessed be He prepared at His will a sort of channel through which He reveals Himself to mankind, while still in this world; and His revelation to them discloses topics as He desires: His secrets and mysteries, matters of Divine Providence and what He is going to bring about to His Creatures. This is called "Nevuah" (prophecy).

This revelation takes special forms, as His Divine Wisdom sees fit for the purpose, and it comprises various levels. There is however a general rule that it should be absolutely clear to the prophet that it is His blessed Glory that is revealed to him, and that he fully comprehends what is revealed to him, and he should remain in no doubt at all concerning his prophecy.

Further, when this [revelation] happens to the prophet, it will be preceded by great trembling in him and all the limbs of his body will quiver, and all his senses will be numbed; he will be as if asleep and then from out of this stupor appropriate visions will appear before his eyes, through which he will attain a revelation of the [Divine] Glory and gain knowledge of the Divine Will that is to be bestowed upon him.

It should be clear that whoever attains the level of prophecy, apart from the knowledge that he will gain by the revelation of the prophecy, it is indispensable that he should achieve such intense closeness to the blessed One as to be fit for this revelation. This intense closeness will raise him to a very high level and he will be able to perform miracles and wonders in proportion to the level of closeness that he has reached.

However, we must bear in mind that all these levels to be found in the prophets are inferior to the level of the prophecy of Moshe (Moses) our teacher, peace be upon him. These [other levels of prophecy] are very different in that any human being can attain them, whereas the prophecy of Moshe our teacher, peace be upon him, is on a unique level designated only for him and which none else can reach.

And immediately below the level of prophecy there is a level called "Ruach Hakodesh" (Divine Inspiration) , wherein man's intellect receives abundance from the blessed One, as a result of which a particular topic will be clarified to him beyond all possible mistake or doubt and his knowledge of it will be complete, in all its causes and effects at all their various levels.

It should be added that, as a result of this abundance, it is possible for man to understand matters which are within the natural grasp of human intellect. However, the advantage of knowledge attained in this special way as opposed to the natural way is that it is achieved without toil, without mistake and beyond doubt, which is not possible by natural means. One may also be able to comprehend matters which are beyond the grasp of human intellect, among these the revelation of hidden mysteries and prediction of future events.

And those who achieve this Ruach Kodesh feel its influence and know beyond doubt that they are receiving this abundance from Above. It may however occur that the heart of man may receive the abundance which will guide him in a particular matter without him feeling its influence. He will receive it as if it came upon him by inspiration. We still call this ”Ruach Hakodesh” in general terms, even though [in this case] it is not strictly accurate.

Original text in Hebrew
Nostra traduzione in italiano - Our translation into Italian