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The Works of Maimonides Rambam: The Thirteen Roots of Belief

Principle #6: How Prophecy Works

The reality of prophecy is a direct connection with God without any intermediary. The Jewish

people since the time of the 1 st Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, had the ability to read and write,

many thousands of years before the general population of the world learned how to read and

write. In Europe the masses only learned how to read a write over 200 years ago, yet the

Jewish people have always been known as the “People of the Book”

However, there is a strange phenomenon that since the times of the 2 nd Temple the Jewish

people have not coherently or extensively written down history until modern times, aside

from Josephus, who was hired by Rome to write the chronicles of history. If the Jewish

people are in fact people of the book, why did we stop writing our own history, an essential

part of each nation’s story? The answer to that is the fact that prophecy ceased during the

2 nd Temple, since the times of Esther and Mordechai. Therefore, recording history for the

Jewish people was always dependent on having prophecy in the world, a deep

understanding of the essence of reality and what will develop from the current reality. That is

the true depiction of history, and without prophecy history is tainted, and not accurate, rather

completely subjective.

Prophecy is not a gift given to specific individuals, where in other cultures and faiths is

depicted as a connection from the Divine to any man, regardless of their moral stature or

intellectual ability. In contrast, the prophecy in the Torah is a partnership between man and

God, a development of man’s moral achievements and progress.

There are 12 levels of prophecy, the highest level is when the person envisions an

experience communicating with a Malach, and the lowest level of prophecy is when a person

gets filled with a desire and a will to do something good for the Jewish People, and acts

upon in and God grants him the wisdom to implement it. An example of the higher level is

Yehoshua meeting the Malach before battling his first battle in Jericho, and an example of

the lowest level of prophecy is that of Samson, who God gave him strength and insight to

combat the Phillistines whom ruled Israel at the time.

The second level is understanding how prophecy is achieved. Prophecy is, in fact, a gift, but

it is only given to those who earn the spiritual status worthy of receiving prophecy, not to the

masses. There are many levels for achieving the spiritual level of prophecy –

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