Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ruach hakodesh & Ruach hakodesh of the intellect are not the same

Daas Torah - translation copyrighted

Divrei Chaim (Y.D. 105): Question: There is a teacher who has insulted the honor of the Ohr HaChaim by claiming that his seforim were not written with ruach hakodesh. Answer: I received your letter and I don’t know what doubt you have as to whether ruach hakodesh occurs today to those who are fit for it – even though prophecy has ceased from the prophets. This is explicitly stated in Bava Basra (12a), “From the day that the Temple was destroyed, prophecy was taken from the prophets but it was not taken from the sages. Therefore a sage is superior to a prophet…” We see from this that even after the destruction of the Temple that ruach hakodesh rests on those who are deserving, ie., the ruach hakodesh of wisdom. It is important to realize that ruach hakodesh is not the same thing as ruach hakofesh of wisdom as is explained in Moreh Nevuchim (2:38)… So Bava Basra (12a) is understood as, “Even though they took the power of prophesy from the prophets which is visions and imagery, but the prophesy of wisdom was not taken away but the sages were able to know the truth through the ruach hakodesh that was in them. The Ritva says this explicitly. He says, “And it was given to the sages, meaning that the sages comprehend with their intellect many things which their natural intellect was not capable of understanding. Therefore a sage is superior to a prophet. In other words, he is superior to a prophet who has the power to see the future but is lacking the type of prophesy which the Shechina rests on him because of his intellect. This is explained by the Rambam in his well﷓known sefer that this type of intellectual prophesy only rests on them through their own power.” Thus we see explicitly in the Talmud and Rishonim that the ruach hakodesh of the intellect never stopped. This is also explicit in Gittin (6b) concerning R’ Avesar. “R Avesar’s views were in agreement with G﷓d.” Rashi explains, “G﷓d revealed to him the secret to ascertain the truth that has been concealed.” Thus we see that ruach hakodesh and the agreement with G﷓d never stopped from the sages who were deserving of this ability. This is also clear from the statement of Rav Pinhas ben Yair (Avoda Zara 20b). And this that is says in Sotah (48b) that after the days of the Prophets that ruach hakodesh was taken away – that means the ruach hakodesh of prophesy but not the ruach hakodesh of intellect and the ability to have one’s intellect be in agreement with the halacha that was given to Moshe at Sinai such as Rav Avesar - that never stopped. Only a heretic would deny this....


  1. "Only a heretic would deny this...."
    Not only a heretic.
    There are cases where the Rambam disagrees with some statements of the Sages. In fact, The Torah itself disagrees with this, since it has a set of sacrifices for when the "Sanhedrin" or highest legal body errs.

  2. I haven't looked up the continuation of the teshuva, but the part you quote doesn't answer the question. The "teacher" the question referred to wasn't denying ruach ha'kodesh, he was denying that the Or HaChayim HaKodesh had ruach ha'kodesh. The teshuva (as quoted) said nothing about the Or HaChayim and nothing about who in particular has ruach ha'kodesh.

    I believe that this is also the answer to the previous commenter. The existance of ruach ha'kodesh doesn't mean that everyone calling themselves a sage has it. The Torah tells us that the sanhedrin can make a mistake, not that noone in the world has ruach ha'kodesh.

    Moreover, the teshuva doesn't say that ruach ha'kodesh means never making a mistake. It's talking about having inspiration from Hashem, not that everything a person says is based on that inspiration.


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