Sunday, March 30, 2008

Summaries and Notes on Emunos Ve-Dei'os III

Continued from here.

Essay 3: Chapter 4

The way to recognize a prophet is that he tells you that he is going to prove that God has sent him and then he performs a miracle -- either changing nature (preventing fire from burning or water from flowing) or changing an object's form (animal to inanimate object). If that occurs then you have to believe the prophet.

God does not change nature for no reason. If He did, nothing in the world would be certain to us because God could change it. No one would know if their family would be the same people when they returned home each day and no witness could testify that a defendant is the same person who committed a crime.

Click here to read moreProphets have to be normal people so that we know that the miracles they perform are from God and not some unknown ability of theirs. For this reason, they are not able to perform miracles or see the future all the time.

Essay 3: Chapter 5

A prophet knew that he was receiving prophecy because he saw a sign -- as a pillar of fire, cloud, or an unusual light -- only during the prophecy. While this is not mentioned regarding every prophet, that does not contradict this idea. We see nowhere in the book of Shmuel that he saw a pillar of fire during prophecy, but we know that it was the case from Tehillim 99:7.

You might ask: how could the Egyptian magicians duplicate Moshe's signs? [Why is this this question raised here? Probably because in the previous chapter we learned that you recognize a prophet by his signs.] They did it through tricks. Perhaps they colored some water red with a chemical and placed something into the river that repels frogs. But Moshe changed the entire Nile [just the Nile!] And raised frogs from the entire Nile, which could not be done with just tricks.

You might ask: why did God choose Yonah, who ran away from his mission? If you look closely, it doesn't say that Yonah failed to say his prophecy. His first prophecy was a warning, which he said. He then left Israel before he could get a second prophecy that he expected would foretell the destruction of Nineveh.

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