Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do Gedolim Have Ruach Hakodesh? Can They Bring Heavenly Assistance?

Our Sages teach that Chaggai, Zechariyah, and Malachi were the last prophets. Yet Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, points out that this statement hardly seems congruous with many other statements throughout Shas. He says, “For example, in Eiruvin 64 we find that Rabban Gamliel spoke with ruach hakodesh. The same is true of Rabbi Akivah in Nedarim 50 and other places.
“Even in Tosafos in Menachos 109, we find that Rabbi Kalonymus said three things before he died which where later discovered to be prescient. Rav Chaim Vital, zt”l, writes similarly, that people genuinely had ruach hakodesh in his times. And we have heard similar things about the Gaon of Vilna, zt”l, and the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l. To explain this apparent contradiction, we must say that there are many levels of ruach hakodesh. Sometimes, a chochom feels as though he has been enlightened by heaven and it is really so. This is clear from the writings of the Chazon Ish, zt’l, in Emunah and Bitachon at the end of chapter 2. ‘There is a level of bitachon through which one merits that ruach hakodesh rests on him and informs him that Hashem will surely help in a certain situation. This level is stronger or weaker in direct accordance to the greatness and holiness of the one filled with trust.’
“This is clear from the Ramban in Bava Basra 12. He writes that although prophecy has been taken from us, this is only true of the visions that prophets would experience. But the sages can know the truth through the ruach hakodesh that is within them. Such נבואת החכמים is definitely still extant.’ This is why we find that people who go to chachomim are often afforded heavenly assistance. Sometimes this is in the merit of the gadol, but at other times what brings the deliverance is the bitachon of the petitioner.”

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