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Many Chabad Chassidim firmly believe that the Rebbe [obv] was a prophet, as seen from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJApCLU5HRM&app=desktop

I know not everyone believes this, but to those who do:

How can this be reconciled with these two statements (found on another question on this site):

The Tosefta (Sotah 13:4) writes:

משמתו נביאים האחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי פסקה רוח הקודש מישראל
Once the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi -- died, the prophetic spirit ceased in Israel.

Additionally, the Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) writes:

וחגי זכריה ומלאכי סוף נביאים הוו
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were the end of the prophets.

Any insights / ways to reconcile?

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3 Answers 3

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A prophet is someone who speaks in the name of Hashem. Someone who can say, "Hashem told me to say..." However, there are ways that Hashem lets his close ones know things, סוד ה' ליראיו. This is not Nevua, but can be seen as a hint thereof.

The Chovos Talmidim describes a level called בני נביאים, alluded to by the Kuzri, in which people nowadays can be inspired unnaturally. This is closer to the Rambam's description of Ruach Hakodesh, in which the person gets a surge of energy or confidence not from within.

Ruach Hakadosh did continue after the Neviim. Calling him an actual Navi is obviously overdoing it since he wasn't tested with that kind of pinpoint accuracy, and he never spoke in the name of Hashem. But the title is based on the many accounts of Ruach Hakodesh, where he advised people in ways that only made sense once unexpected things transpired.

He is not unique in having Ruach Hakadosh, but Chabad is unique in claiming someone an actual Navi.

Calling someone a Navi is not entirely new. In the period of the Rishonim there was someone known as Eliyahu Hanavi, Shmuel Hanavi (Reb Yehuda Hachasid's father), and Avraham Hachozeh.

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  • Note that the Medieval titles "Navi", "Chozeh" were reserved for very wise rabbis. And Rabbi Avraham Hachozeh was likely the Ibn Ezra. For both, see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/120895/20472.
    – Harel13
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 16:36
  • You are incorrect that "Chabad is unique in claiming someone actual Navi." For details, see the references in my answer below. Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 17:11
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Regarding prophecy, prior to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash not all prophets were wise men. After the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed only the wise men retained their prophetic inspiration. (See Ein Yaakov, Bava Batra [12a], page 555)

It may be explained that when Yoel said that "Prophecy in general is supposed to return in the time of mashiach" (see @Fred above), this is a reference to prophecy returning to the Jews who are not wise.

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  • Note you are quoting @Fred's interpretation of Yoel, though those are not his exact words. Are you hinting that the Rebbe wasn't wise?
    – Harel13
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 13:51
  • I am not hinting at anything, i was just talking about what we learn in the Gemara.
    – Mishlei
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 16:55
  • I was trying to show with this Gemara that it is possible even today for a great tzaddik to be a prophet.
    – Mishlei
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 17:09
  • Okay, thanks for the clarification. I recommend amending your answer so that it'll be clear that "Prophecy in general is supposed to return in the time of mashiach" is a quote from @Fred's comment and not the actual words of the verse in Yoel.
    – Harel13
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 17:16
  • How do i do that? Should i just write @Fred after the quote?
    – Mishlei
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:32
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Two obvious traditions that precede the Rebbe that would resolve your question about the reappearance of prophecy among the Jewish people are:

  1. The tradition from the Rambam as recorded in his Igeret Teiman from his father that prophecy would return to the Jewish people in the year 4970. That means that sometime around the year 1210 CE, Nevuah would be present among the Jewish people at least by certain select individuals as a kind of precursor to the coming of the Moshiach and the final redemption. For details of this, please read the following.

  2. The second tradition pertains to the story of the Prophecy of the Child. In this story, which first appeared in print around 1400 CE, it recorded the story of a Jewish child who was born around 490 CE to his parents, Pinchas and Rachel in Spain. That infant was a miraculous child who possessed the power to speak almost from birth and who knew by heart, vast amounts of the Torah. This child was purported to have from birth the level of prophecy.

If you are unfamiliar with this tradition, you will find the two links provided above of great interest. It is worth noting in regard to this story the related tradition from Rabbi Simlai in the Talmud, Niddah 30b, how during the months of pregnancy, the soul of the future child learns the entire Torah, meaning even the inner aspects of Torah. It is only after the angel, who is present at the time of birth, touches the upper lip of the child as it enters the body to be born, that this memory of all the Torah it had learned is wiped from the child. Surprisingly, this tradition from Rabbi Simlai also makes an allusion to Spain. It should also be noted that this idea of touching the upper lip, beneath the nostrils, seems to also correspond to the idea mentioned in Bereshit 2:7 that G-d blows the Living Soul into the nostrils of Adam HaRishon.

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