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Friday, 14 August 2020
Parashat 
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The Return of Prophecy
In Bilaam’s prophecy he says, “In time it will be told to Jacob and to Israel what G-d has wrought… the nation will get up like a lioness and be uplifted like a lion.” The elevation of the people like a lioness and lion is an allusion to the Redemption. Before that, “It will be told to Jacob and Israel what G-d has wrought”—in other words, prophecy will return and we will be informed by our prophets what G-d intends to do. Prophecy disappeared in the early second Temple era, but it will be restored before the Redemption.

When exactly? In “Igeret Teiman,” Maimonides writes: “Bilaam prophesied in the 40th year after the exodus from Egypt, meaning 2488 years from creation. The word ‘ka’et’ [in time] means that when this precise interval will pass again, prophecy will return.” In other words, prophecy will return in year 4976 since creation, twice 2488.

Indeed, approximately 800 years ago prophecy did return in the form of towering Torah giants and miracle-workers such as Rabbi Shmuel Hanavi, Rabbi Elazar Baal Harokeach, Nachmanides, Rabbi Ezra and Rabbi Yehudah Hachassid.

According to the prophecy of Bilaam, the return of prophecy was supposed to be followed immediately by the Redemption. But apparently the subsequent generations were not worthy and therefore the exile persisted.

Five hundred years after the era of Nachmanides, we again merited the return of prophecy in the form of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov and the Chassidic masters, until our current generation, when we have merited the ultimate prophecy: “Behold, Moshiach is coming!” We hope and pray that the second half of the prophecy will be speedily fulfilled and we will merit the ultimate Redemption, immediately.

 (Likutei Sichot vol. 2, p. 588)
 

 


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