Monday, April 22, 2013

Rambam- Yisdoei HaTorah Perek 7 Halacha 6: Moshe's Uniqueness As a Prophet

כל הדברים שאמרנו הם דרך נבואה לכל הנביאים הראשונים והאחרונים חוץ ממשה רבינו רבן של כל הנביאים. ומה הפרש יש בין נבואת משה לשאר כל הנביאים שכל הנביאים בחלום או במראה ומשה רבינו מתנבא והוא ער ועומד שנאמר ובבוא משה אל אהל מועד לדבר אתו וישמע הקול מדבר אליו. כל הנביאים על ידי מלאך. לפיכך רואים מה שהם רואים במשל וחידה. משה רבינו לא על ידי מלאך שנאמר פה אל פה אדבר בו. ונאמר ודבר ה' אל משה פנים אל פנים. ונאמר ותמונת ה' יביט כלומר שאין שם משל אלא רואה הדבר על בוריו בלא חידה ובלא משל. הוא שהתורה מעידה עליו במראה ולא בחידות שאינו מתנבא בחידה אלא במראה שרואה הדבר על בוריו. כל הנביאים יראים ונבהלים ומתמוגגין ומשה רבינו אינו כן הוא שהכתוב אומר כאשר ידבר איש אל רעהו כלומר כמו שאין אדם נבהל לשמוע דברי חבירו כך היה כח בדעתו של משה רבינו להבין דברי הנבואה והוא עומד על עומדו שלם. כל הנביאים אין מתנבאים בכל עת שירצו משה רבינו אינו כן אלא כל זמן שיחפוץ רוח הקודש לובשתו ונבואה שורה עליו ואינו צריך לכוין דעתו ולהזדמן לה שהרי הוא מכוון ומזומן ועומד כמלאכי השרת. לפיכך מתנבא בכל עת שנאמר עמדו ואשמעה מה יצוה ה' לכם. ובזה הבטיחו האל שנאמר לך אמור להם שובו לכם לאהליכם ואתה פה עמוד עמדי. הא למדת שכל הנביאים כשהנבואה מסתלקת מהם חוזרים לאהלם שהוא צרכי הגוף כלם כשאר העם. לפיכך אין פורשין מנשותיהם. ומשה רבינו לא חזר לאהלו הראשון לפיכך פירש מן האשה לעולם ומן הדומה לו ונקשרה דעתו לצור העולמים ולא נסתלק מעליו ההוד לעולם וקרן עור פניו ונתקדש כמלאכים:

All of these things that we have said is regarding the path of prophecy for all of the early and later prophets except for Moshe (Moses), our teacher, the greatest of all the prophets. What is the difference between Moshe and all the other prophets? All the [other] prophets [prophesized] in a dream or a vision and Moshe, our teacher, prophesized while he was awake and standing, for it says (Bamidbar 7:89), "When Moshe came to the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him and he heard the voice speak to him..." Also, all the other [prophets] prophesized through an angel. Therefore, [since they prophesized through an angel] they saw what they saw as a parable and a riddle. [However,] Moshe, our teacher did not [prophesize] through an angel as it says (Bamidbar 12:8) "Mouth to mouth I speak with him." And it says (Shemos 33:11) "And G-D spoke to Moshe face to face." And it says (Bamidbar 12:8), "He beholds the image of G-D," meaning that there is no parable, rather he saw the subject's [in his prophecies] true meaning. 

All of the prophets were in awe, scared, and fearful [during prophecy], but Moshe, our teacher, was not. For, the verse says (Shemos 33:11), "It was like when a man speaks to his friend." Like a man is not frightened to hear the words of his friend, so it was the strength of the mind of Moshe, our teacher, to understand the words of prophecy and he stood on his feet, whole. 

None of the prophets could prophesize at any time they wanted, but this was not true of Moshe, our teacher. Any time that he desired to have [prophecy] the holy spirit (Ruach Hakodesh) would clothe him and prophecy would rest on him. 

[Moshe] did not have to concentrate his mind and prepare for [prophecy] because he was [always] concentrated and prepared like the ministering angels. Therefore, he could prophesize at anytime, for it says (Bamidbar 9:8), "Wait and I will listen for what G-D commands for you." And this (that Moshe could speak with G-D whenever he wanted) was promised [to Moshe] by G-D, as it says (Devarim 5:27-28), "Go, say to them, you return to your tents and you (Moshe) stand here with me." This teaches you that all the prophets, when prophecy would leave them, they would "return to their tents" in order to fulfill their [sexual] needs like the rest of the nation, therefore, they did not need to separate from their wives. [However,] Moshe, our teacher, did not return to his first tent, therefore, he separated from his wife forever and everything similar to her (anything that had to do with sexuality, but he still had bodily functions). His mind became connected to the Rock of the World and the glory [of G-D] was never removed from being upon him and "his face became radiant" (Shemos 34:35) and he became holy like the angels.     

The Rambam uses this halacha to point out that the previous five laws that he has talked about in this chapter do not apply, in any way, to Moshe. The Rambam goes through every possible aspect of prophecy and expresses why Moshe, as a prophet, was different than all other prophets.

Based on all the sources Rambam brings down, we can paint a picture of Moshe that allows us to understand why he was such a unique prophet. Was it that G-D made him into this type of prophet or was he the type of man that was, inherently, this type of prophet? Did G-D just say, arbitrarily, since I want to give the Torah now I need to make Moshe into a unique prophet, or did G-D see that Moshe was a unique prophet and decide to give the Torah because of him?

I would like to suggest, based on the Rambam, that Moshe was inherently a unique prophet and that is why G-D chose to give the Torah to him. The Rambam points out that Moshe was not afraid of G-D's prophecies, unlike all the other prophets, because of the strength of his mind. Moshe did not need to "return to his tent" to fulfill his sexual desires, because he had such perfect control over his mind that he could inhibit his mind from even thinking about sexuality. This is why the Rambam, in my opinion, believes Moshe is so unique, because his mind and his ability to acquire knowledge was the greatest to ever exist. The Rambam explains in this very chapter, that a person can acquire prophecy based on how well he perfects his mind and Moshe had the highest level of perfection, even reaching the level of the angels. This is why Moshe was so unique, it is not because he received the Torah, but rather he received the Torah because he was unique. 

This can help us understand all of the aspects of Moshe's prophecies. Moshe did not need the medium of a dream or a vision because he did not need to communicate to G-D through an angel, for he was already on the level of an angel with regards to the strength of his mind. This is also why he did not have his prophecies in the form of a riddle, because all of these aspects are only present when you have to communicate to G-D through an angel. Moshe was not frightened by prophecy because he was not confused by the parables and riddles like all other prophets, he immediately understood what was being said to him. An example of this is if a foreigner comes up to you and says something in an unfamiliar language carrying a knife, you are worried. However, once his words are translated and all he said was, "Hello, my name is James," you are no longer frightened. Also, not only could Moshe prophesize while awake, but he could do it whenever he wanted. The reason for this is because, as is stated in this law of the Rambam, his mind was always ready for prophecy because of his ability to block out any thought that could inhibit prophecy. Moshe's mind was unique because it was practically on the level of the angels and not because G-D elevated him, as a person, to the level of the angels, according to the Rambam.   

No comments: