Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sources on Chazal's Ruach Hakodesh

With permission of
R Daniel Eidensohn'll

This was a response to a query re: are there sources crediting Hazzal with Ruach Haqodesh?

I find the breadth of sources amazing.


Leshem(2:4:19): The critical point is that every Jew is obligated to belief with perfect faith that all which is found in the words of our Sages – both in halacha, Talmudic agada and medrashim – are in their entirety the words of the living G-d. That is because everything that they say is with ruach hakodesh (Sanhedrin 48b). This includes even that which isn't relevant to halacha and deed…Also all their decrees and statutes are not the product of human intellect at all but rather are the result of ruach hakodesh in which G-d has expressed Himself through them. This is the great sound that doesn't end (Devarim 5:19) of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and it expresses itself in the Oral Torah…. Thus the Sages are just like messengers in what they say…. This is why the Bal Halachos Gedolos includes the Rabbinic mitzvos with the Torah mitzvos since all of them were given by G-d (Chagiga 3b)…We can conclude from all this that anyone who tries to analyze the words of the Sages in order to establish the nature of their truth places himself in great danger. That is because man's intellect can not properly comprehend this matter and thus a person can come to heresy from the endeavor. This is what Koheles(7:16) states: Don't make yourself too wise - why destroy yourself? A person who gets involved in this matter will find it very difficult to resist following his human understanding. He will end up going back and forth between the view of the Torah and that of his own understanding…. The righteous person lives by his faith because that is the foundation of the entire Torah….

Bava Basra (12a): R. Abdimi from Haifa said: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from the prophets and given to the wise. Is then a wise man not also a prophet?12 — What he meant was this: Although it has been taken from the prophets, it has not been taken from the wise. Amemar said: A wise man is even superior to a prophet, as it says, And a prophet has a heart of wisdom.13 Who is compared with whom? Is not the smaller compared with the greater?14 Abaye said: The proof [that prophecy has not been taken from the wise] is that a great man makes a statement, and the same is then reported in the name of another great man.15 Said Raba: What is there strange in this? Perhaps both were born under one star.16 No, said Raba; the proof is this, that a great man makes a statement and then the same is reported in the name of R. Akiba b. Joseph.1 Said R. Ashi: What is there strange in this? perhaps in this matter he was born under the same star. No, said R. Ashi; the proof is that a great man makes a statement and then it is found that the same rule was a halachah communicated to Moses at Mount Sinai. But perhaps the wise man was no better than a blind man groping his way through a window?2 — And does he not give reasons [for his opinions]?3
See Ramban and Chasam Sofer on this gemora
Chazon Ish's Letters (1:15):It is at the roots of our faith that all that is said in the gemora whether it is in the Mishna or gemora whether it is halacha or agada—all these things were revealed to us through the medium of prophetic power
Chazaon Ish's Letter (2:24): The truth is that the generation after the Mishna witnessed a decline in stature relative to the Tannaim. The new generation knew for certain that the truth was always with the Tannaim. Once they knew the truth of the matter that it was impossible for them to comprehend something that had not been understood by one of the Tannaim—it was no longer possible to disagree directly with the Tannaim on their own authority. Therefore, they only taught what they understood to be the teachings of the Tannaim. Similarly with the close of the Talmud, the words of an amora—who was unaware of the teaching on that matter of a tanna—were not null. The only exception being Rav who because of his greatness his words were not null. All their conclusions were reached with Divine guidance and ruach hakodesh which manifested itself.

Sanhedrin (11a):With the death of the last prophets—Chaggai, Zechariah and Malachi—ruach hakodesh left the Jews. Nevertheless, they still were able to utilize Bas Kol
Chasam Sofer (1:208):
Meshech Chochma (Vayikra 26:44):

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