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    Prophets aplenty – B’ha’alot’cha

    Eldad and Medad were reported to Moses. They were prophesying in the camp. Joshua urged Moses, k’la’em (Num. 11:28), “shut them in” – i.e. “put them in prison”.

    Another view is that k’la’em means “destroy them” – not physically, but, according to the sages, by calling their bluff: “Give them real responsibility for public affairs, and it will soon wear them out and destroy them”.

    Moses was not inclined to be so strict. In his humility he did not regard the two as a threat to his prophetic leadership. His answer was, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!” (verse 29).

    Samson Raphael Hirsch reads into Moses’ words the message that there can be no monopoly of spiritual leadership. No particular office or class is automatically entitled to spiritual status. “The lowliest of the nation shares with the highest the opportunity of being granted Divine inspiration”.

    Rambam believed that all human beings have the moral and intellectual potential to become prophets, whereas Y’hudah HaLevi regarded prophecy as an expression of Divine grace, but in either case there is no socio-economic factor.

    Whether prophecy arises from below or descends from above, it does not depend on rank, lineage or material endowment. It depends on whether the individual is worthy that “the Lord would put His spirit upon them”.

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