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Will We All Be Prophets?
The prophet Joel writes (3:1-2), “I will pour my spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elders will dream dreams, your youth will see visions, and even on your servants and maids in those days I will pour my spirit.’

Although Maimonides in “Guide to the Perplexed” writes that the verse is not referring to literal prophecy, in his Sefer Hamitzvot he writes, “It is also known that prophecy and kingship have departed from us until we remove all our sins and atone from them… then they will be returned, as the prophet says, ‘I will pour my spirit…’” In Sefer Hamitzvot he interprets these verses as referring to actual prophecy.

The Biblical commentator Rabbi David Kimchi (Radak) points out that the verse uses the term “pour my spirit” on all flesh, but the term prophecy is used only for “your sons and daughters.” This indicates that not everyone will be granted the gift of prophecy. He quotes Maimonides, “Prophecy will not come to everyone, even with study, unless he was born with this nature.” Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbenel has a similar view: “The idea is not that everyone will be prophets, but that G-d will rest His spirit on those who are worthy, even if they are slaves or maidservants.”

According to the teachings of Chassidut, however, prophecy will indeed be granted to all of us when Moshiach comes. The Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber of Lubavitch, writes, “The revelation of prophecy that will be in the future in everyone… will not be like the revelation of prophecy [in the past] that came with a number of conditions, and after all that it was something wondrous, above nature… in the future prophecy will be a natural thing.”

Even though we will all experience prophecy when Moshiach comes, the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that there will be various levels of prophecy, as is evident from the verse in Joel and the interpretation of Radak.

References: Guide to the Perplexed, part II, ch. 32. Sefer Hamitzvot, Sof Hashoroshim. Radak on Joel 3:1. Yeshuot Meshichoi, Abarbanel, ch. 7. Hemshech 5662, p. 936. Likutei Sichot vol. 31, p. 163, vol. 17, p. 93.
 

 


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