In Perek Hachelek in Sandhedrin the Gemara says that Chanania, Mishael and Azariah were Neviem, but their friend Daniel (Seemingly the Most Important and Impressive Figure- due to his Prophecies and trust in Hashem) "Only has Ruach Hakodesh".

How do we reconcile this with the Fact that in Sefer Daniel we see, and from the 7th-12th Chapter Daniel writes about the many Earth Shattering Prophecies he's had, in which he's told Secrets until the time of Mashiach (including the time of Redemption) in a "Chaza" which as in 'Chazon Ovadia' always (I think) refers to Prophecy. In addition, we find (in Chapter 2) Daniel preparing himself with a to revive Nevuah.

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    Maybe you have a very watered down modern notion of Ruach Hakodesh
    – Double AA
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 0:29
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    May be of interest: Megillah 3a says: "אינהו עדיפי מיניה ואיהו עדיף מינייהו אינהו עדיפי מיניה דאינהו נביאי ואיהו לאו נביא איהו עדיף מינייהו דאיהו חזא ואינהו לא חזו". Rashi there, s.v. "דאינהו נביאי", says: "שנתנבאו לישראל בשליחותו של מקום והוא לא נשתלח לישראל בשום נבואה".
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 2:17
  • jewfaq.org/prophet.htm#Daniel
    – rosends
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 3:08
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    Tamir, Thank you so much! I haven't learnt Mesectas Megilla yet. I'm learning Sefer Daniel, and you have no idea how much This Answer means to me! This question for which I've heard a weak (for my comprehension) Answer, along the lines of Double AA (whom I Respect as his other Answers & Explanations were extremely insightful) was bothering for months
    – Sochacz
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 3:11
  • Ultimately for technical reasons; from Genesis to (Second) Kings, we are dealing with a continuous text (called Enneateuch), split into the Torah (Pentateuch) and the (Former) Prophets; the (Latter) Prophets are those whose books run parallel to the aforementioned texts. Daniel, on the other hand, along with Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Esther, belong to a (much) later layer, showing (stronger) traces of Aramaic, and written during the Captivity (not before).
    – user18041
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 7:50

3 Answers 3


There have been various rabbinic interpretations on this issue. In addition to Tamir's note on Rashi's commentary (to Megillah 3a) - that Daniel was not technically considered a prophet since he didn't publicly declare his visions to the Jewish people - here are a few other explanations.

The Rambam offers an intermediate position - arguing that Daniel had a "second degree" of prophecy, like David and Solomon (cf. Guide II:45). A vision in a dream may be inspired by Ruach Hakodesh, but not necessarily prophecy, especially if that person doesn't understand what they experienced. Regarding this "second degree," the Rambam writes:

It consists in the fact that an individual finds that a certain thing has descended upon him and that another force has come upon him and has made him speak; so that he talks in wise sayings, in words of praise, in useful admonitory dicta, or concerning governmental or divine matters-and all this while he is awake and his senses function as usual. Such an individual is said to speak through the Holy Spirit.

...Similarly you will find that Daniel applies to them the expression "dreams," even though he saw an angel in those dreams and heard words spoken in them. He calls them dreams even after he has received knowledge through them. Thus it says: Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a vision of the night. It also says: Then he wrote the dream, and so on; I saw in my vision by night, and so on; And the visions of my head affrighted me. And he says: And I was appalled at the vision, but understood it not. There is no doubt that this grade is below the grade of those of whom it is said: I do speak with him in a dream [Num. 12:6]. For this reason the nation has reached a consensus to put the book of Daniel among the Writings, and not among the Prophets. For this reason I called your attention to the fact that in the kind of prophecy that came to Daniel and Solomon, they did not discover in their souls - even though they saw an angel in a dream - that this was a pure prophecy, but rather that this was a dream communicating the true reality of certain matters. This is characteristic of the group of people who speak through the Holy Spirit. This is the second degree.

The Ramban (Gen. 18:1) strongly disagrees with Rambam's understanding of prophecy. Daniel did have visions when he was awake and asleep. In any case, the explanation that Daniel was not a prophet, according to the Ramban, is that his message came through a vision of the angel Gabriel. Angels transcend human perception, and a vision of one indicates a lack of pure prophecy:

ובאמת כי כל מקום שהוזכר בכתוב ראיית מלאך או דבור מלאך הוא במראה או בחלום כי ההרגשים לא ישיגו המלאכים אבל לא מראות הנבואה כי המשיג לראות מלאך או דיבורו איננו נביא ... וכן לא נכתב ספרו עם ספר הנביאים מפני שהיה עניינו עם גבריאל אף על פי שהיה נראה אליו ומדבר עמו בהקיץ כמו שנאמר במראה של בית שני ועוד אני מדבר בתפלה והאיש גבריאל (דניאל ט כא) וכן המראה של קץ הגאולה (שם י ד) בהקיץ היתה בלכתו עם חביריו על יד הנהר

In truth, wherever Scripture mentions an angel being seen or heard speaking it is in a vision or in a dream for the human senses cannot perceive the angels. But these are not visions of prophecy since he who attains the vision of an angel or the hearing of his speech is not yet a prophet... [Daniel's] book, likewise, was not grouped together with the books of the prophets since his affair was with the angel Gabriel, even though he appeared to him and spoke with him when he was awake, as it is said in the vision concerning the second Temple: Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, etc. The vision concerning the ultimate redemption also occurred when Daniel was awake as he walked with his friends beside the Tigris River.

Another way to understand the sages' statement on Daniel, and the status of the Book of Daniel among the Ketuvim, is to consider the contextual location, authorship, and time of Daniel's visions in Bavel. This can be understood by two other teachings from Rashi. As Rashi explains in Bava Batra 15a, Daniel's visions were written close to when prophesy ended completely, a time when the Ruach Hakodesh was waning. Furthermore, it was only written/published by the Great Assembly in the Land of Israel, at a later time from when they originally happened:

תבו יחזקאל - שנתנבא בגולה ואיני יודע למה לא כתבו יחזקאל בעצמו אם לא מפני שלא נתנה נבואה ליכתב בחוצה לארץ וכתבום אלו לאחר שבאו לארץ וכן ספר דניאל שהיה בגולה וכן מגילת אסתר ושנים עשר מתוך שהיו נבואותיהם קטנות לא כתבום הנביאים עצמם איש איש ספרו ובאו חגי זכריה ומלאכי וראו שרוח הקדש מסתלקת שהיו הם נביאים אחרונים ועמדו וכתבו נבואותיהם וצרפו נבואות קטנות עמם ועשאום ספר גדול שלא יאבדו מחמת קטנם

They [the members of the Great Assembly] wrote Ezekiel — for he prophesied in exile. And I do not know why Ezekiel didn't write it himself, if not because prophecy is not allowed to be written outside of the Land, so they wrote them after they came to the land. And thus the book of Daniel, which was in exile, and thus the Scroll of Esther and the Twelve of minor prophecies — the prophets did not write it together, but rather each wrote their own book. And Ḥaggai, Zecharia, and Malachi came and saw that the Holy Spirit was withdrawing, that they were the last prophets, and they arose and wrote their prophecies and attached the minor prophecies with them, and made them a great book that would not be lost because of their small size.

Rashi, in Ezekiel 1:3, also explains that Ezekiel first received his prophecy in Israel, which allowed him to later prophesy in exile:

ואומר אני שאותה נבואה נאמר' לו קודם שגלו שהיא ראויה ליאמר לו בארץ שאין מפורש בה גולה והיא נכרת תחלת שליחתו אליהם ויונתן אף הוא כך תירגם מהוי הוי פתגם נבואה מן קדם ה' עם יחזקאל בר בוזי כהנא בארעא דישראל תב תניינות אתמלל עמיה במדינת ארעא כשדאי

I say that this [Ezekiel's] prophecy was told to him before they were exiled, because it is worthy to be said to him in the Land, for the community of the exile is not mentioned explicitly in it. It can be recognized as the beginning of his mission to them. Jonathan [Targum], too, paraphrased in that manner: The prophetic word from before the Lord was revealed to Ezekiel the son of Buzi the Cohen in the land of Israel; it returned a second time and spoke with him in the state of the land of the Chaldeans.

If, according to Rashi, prophecy must first be experienced in the Land of Israel, it would appear that Daniel's visions, which happened exclusively in exile, are thus not considered prophecy. This is how Rashi maintains that Ezekiel was a prophet, by arguing that Ezekiel first received prophecy in Israel (as did other prophets who prophesied outside the land, such as Jonah).

For what it's worth, some of the earliest post-Biblical Jewish literature similarly classified Daniel a prophet. This includes the Septuagint, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Roman Jewish historian Josephus, who is most emphatic about Daniel, writing:

[Daniel was] one of the greatest prophets, and during his lifetime he received honor and esteem from kings and people, and, since his death, his memory lives on eternally. For the books which he wrote and left behind are still read by us even now, and we are convinced by them that Daniel spoke with God, for he was not only wont to prophesy future things, as did the other prophets, but he also fixed the time at which these would come to pass. And, whereas the other prophets foretold disasters and were for that reason in disfavor with kings and people, Daniel was a prophet of good tidings to them, so that through the auspiciousness of his predictions he attracted the goodwill of all, while from their realization he gained credit among the multitude for his truthfulness and at the same time won their esteem for his divine power. And he left behind writings in which he has made plain to us the accuracy and faithfulness to truth of his prophecies. (Jewish Antiquities ch.10)

Josephus should always be taken with a grain of salt. I don't mean to compare him to rabbinic tradition, only to suggest that the idea among Jews to consider Daniel a prophet stretches back thousands of years.

  • Indeed, prophecy is not generally associated with the degree of eschatology contained therein, but rather the clarity of the message received. Moshe Rabbeinu had an אספקלריא מאירה. All other neviim had an אספקלריא שאינה מאירה. Daniel's lack of inclusion amongst the Neviim can allow us to conclude that his visions, while quite eschatological and "intense," did not constitute "prophecy" by its strict definition.
    – Yehuda
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 14:44
  • Aryeh- Interesting, thank you for being down the Rambam's diff. Levels of Nevua. And the Ramban. Although Rashi in Megilla is the Only Answer that I understand, as I can't see how the Rambam's or the Ramban explanation of Daniel's "Vision" fit into the Pasukim. (Of course, starting with Perek 7, there are differing Tracks on how to read the Pasukim , and I chose to learn Rashi's Track, since he learns it according to the Gemara (as opposed to Others who learn like various Tannaich Medrashim) so that the Rashi on Megilla is in fact Rashi L'shitaso.)
    – Sochacz
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 13:50
  • Nissim Nanach: WHAT?? If Rav Nachman Breslov's Sefer was written correctly, online here, it (Seems to) make NO sense! How can he claim Daniel's Chachma saved him from the Lions Den, when the Pasukim state Explicitly. Hashem performed an "Open Miracle for Daniel" in order that Nebuchadnezzar whould realize that "Hashem was in Control Of his World, not Kings (or nature) Hashem appoints and Removes Kings." "He commanded all his people worship Hashem, as no god can do what He did". The Paskim list 6 Nissim that Hashem did. All for Nevuchadnezer's benefit.
    – Sochacz
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 14:22
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    @Sochacz: I added more sources, including teachings from from Rashi.
    – Aryeh
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 12:33
  • @Aryeh I saw that Great Post 👍 I found it very insightful & helpful.
    – Sochacz
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 0:35

Daniel was a chakham gadol.
And "Chakham 'adif mi'navi/ A chakham is better than a navi."
In other words a navi has a vision what will be but the chakham knows what will be.
Thus Daniel's writings are not prophecy but wisdom, which is greater.

Sefer Hamidot:

ב. דַּע, לְפִי גּדֶל יְדִיעַת הַתּוֹרָה וְטִבְעֵי הָעוֹלָם כֵּן נִמְסַר וְנִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד הָעוֹלָם תַּחְתָּיו. וּלְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ נִכְנָעִים הָאֲרָיוֹת תַּחַת דָּנִיֵּאל, כִּי דָּנִיֵּאל הָיָה חָכָם גָּדוֹל, וְכָל רָז לא אָנִיס לֵהּ, וְהָיָה יוֹדֵעַ טֶבַע הָאַרְיֵה, וְהַטֶּבַע מִתְנַהֶגֶת בִּידִיעַת הַתּוֹרָה, וְהִיא תַּחַת יַד הַיְדִיעָה. Sefer haMidot - Da'at II:2
Know, that according to greatness of one's knowledge of the Torah and of the natural world, so the world is placed and committed in his charge. Thus, the lions were subdued under Daniel, for Daniel was a great chakham, and no secret was concealed from him (Daniel 4:6), and he knew the nature of the lion. Nature acts according to the wisdom of the Torah, and it is under the power of that wisdom. Sefer haMidot - Da'at II:2

Baba Batra:

אָמַר אַמֵּימָר וְחָכָם עָדִיף מִנָּבִיא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְנָבִא לְבַב חׇכְמָה מִי נִתְלֶה בְּמִי הֱוֵי אוֹמֵר קָטָן נִתְלֶה בַּגָּדוֹל
Ameimar said: And a Sage is greater than a prophet, as it is stated: “And a prophet has a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12), i.e., he is wise. When comparisons are drawn, who is compared to whom? You must say that the lesser is compared to the greater. Here too, prophecy is compared to wisdom, thus indicating that wisdom is greater than prophecy. B"B 12a

  • @ Nissim Thank you. But as you brought down in Sefer Hamidot ,but תַּחְתָּיו. וּלְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ נִכְנָעִים הָאֲרָיוֹת תַּחַת דָּנִיֵּאל, כִּי דָּנִיֵּאל הָיָה חָכָם גָּדוֹל, וְכָל רָז לא אָנִיס לֵהּ, וְהָיָה יוֹדֵעַ טֶבַע הָאַרְיֵה, "- Contradicts Rashi, Malbim, and EVERY Mefarsh I've seen (I doubt ANY Rishon in says that) on the Words of the Pasukim which say that Daniel was ONLY saved from the 100s of Hungry Lions DUE TO A MIRACLE.....Not a thing to do with his Chachma. I've Never seen Anyone say that before.
    – Sochacz
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 0:44
  • @Sochasz But is that a contradiction? Who do miracles happen for? Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 12:20

The "Contradiction" (or a Question on Sefer Hamidot) is that, based on what Your saying (I didn't read it inside) he writes that Daniel was saved from the Lions based on his wisdom- to rule out his being saved based on Miracles...... But if read the Pasukim it's very clear- that Daniel was ONLY saved Miraculously by Hashem...in fact afterwards Nevuchadnezer writes a Letter of how great Hashem is that He Alone can do these Miracles...Meforshim list 5 Separate Miracles and R. Sadia Gaon brings down more Miracles ...Daniel was Not saved by his Wisdom even though he was Very Very Wise

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