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PART 2 The Prophet

Friday, December 02, 2011

Many people consider the prophets of the Bible to be nothing more than spokesmen and agitators, who spoke out against the wrongs of their people and governments. What is not generally known is the fact that these prophets were among the greatest mysdtics of all times, actively engaged in the loftiest meditative techniques. The great spiritual power of the prophets is attested to by the force of their message, which after almost three thousand years, still influences a larget segment of humanity.
Kaplan, page 27.

One reason why the prophets are not usually recognized as mystic is because, with the possible excption of Ezekiel, they record very little of their mystical experiences. Of their techniques, only the vaguest hints are recorded in the Bible, and we must rely totally on the teachings of the Kabbalists, who preserved some traditions from the prophets. It is only in their writings that we gain insight into the fascinating world of the prophets of the Bible.
Kaplan, ibid.

Before we begin to discuss the prophets, it wqould be useful to study the exact meaning of the word Navie, the Hebrew word for "prophet."
Kaplan, ibid.

Some early sources state that the word Navie comes from the same root as the word Niv, as in the verse, "He created the fruit (Niv) of the lips" (Isaiah 57:19). According to this, the main connotation of the word Navie is indeed that of a spokesman, especially one who speaks in God's name. There are however, other verses, where this word refers to a spokesman in general, as in the passage, "Aaron your brother shall be your navie" (Exodus 7:1).
Kaplan, page 28.

In this view, the word Nava meaning to prophesy, refers primarily to the verbal expression of the revelation. As such, it may be related to the word Navach, meaning to bark or cry out.
Kaplan, ibid.

Others, however, dispute this opinion, and contend that the main connotation of the word Navie is that of a channel, through which spiritual forces can flow (My italics). . The eminent philologist Rabbi Solomon Pappenheim (1750-1814), states that it is related to the root Boa, meaning to "come" or "bring." According to this, the main ability of a prophet is to bring spiritual power, channeling it where it is needed. As we shall see, this opinion is also supported by a Biblical account of one of Ezekiel's experiences.
Kaplan, Ibid.

A similiar opinion is voiced by another major linguist and philosopher, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888). In his opinion, the word Navie is closely related to the root, Nava, meaning to "flow" or "gush forth," as in the case of a spring or fountain. This word also has the connotation of expression and communication. The prophet or Navie is then one who can "gush forth" with spirit, communicating with the Divine, and expressing the will of God.
Kaplan, ibid.

Another closely related root is Byb or Navuv, both meaning "hollow", as in the verse, "A hollow (Navuv), both meaning "hollow" as in the verse, "A hollow (navuv) man will gain heart" (Job 11:12). In this context, a prophet would be one who totally hollows himself, emptying hiomself of all ego, so that, like an empty pipe (Byv), he makes himself a channel for the Divine Spirit. Such a person would then be on the level of King David, who said of himself, "My heart is hollow within me" (Psalms 109:22). This indicates that David had totally annihilated his ego, and the same must be true of the prophet before he can be a vessel for the Divine.
Kaplan, ibid.
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    Thanks, as a speaker of Hebrew I found these ideas very interesting.
    3244 days ago
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