Learn Emunah:
Section One, Lesson Eight:
Moshe Rabbeinu:
Our Greatest Prophet and Teacher


By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © November 22, 2018

7. I believe with perfect emunah
     that the prophecy of Moses our teacher,
     peace be to him, was true,
     and that he was the father of the prophets --
     those who preceded him and those who followed him.

As discussed in the previous lesson, the role of the prophets is fundamental to Jewish law and our relationship with the Holy One, both individually and collectively. Also as discussed, the Talmud records an amazing account about the proper role of the prophets. It says that once the sages were debating a certain point of Torah law and were unable to come to an agreement. The majority opinion was one way while the equally certain minority opinion went another. Suddenly a divine voice rang out supporting the minority view. What were the sages to do? Most felt they had resolved the issue to their satisfaction, one way of another. Hearing the "voice from the heavens" the sages maintained their original judgments citing the Torah passage that says, "it is not in the heavens" (Deuteronomy 30:12, Bava Metzia 59). The authority of Torah is absolute. Being the teachings of Moshe his word is absolute. Torah's proper interpretation is in the hands of the spiritual heirs of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Rabbinate So we read:

"Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshua [Joshua], and Yehoshua to the Elders, and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples and make a fence for the Torah" -- Pirkei Avot 1.1

The "Men of the Great Assembly" are the founding Pharisees/Rabbis. Their lineage of authority began with the last of the School of the Prophets. According to Jewish tradition the Men of the Great Assembly (or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah) consisted of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets. The Great Assembly began around 516 BCE and sat until the beginning of Alexander's conquests in 333-332 BCE). Its members included prophets such as Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (AKA Ezra), Daniel and others.

They established the primary structure of Judaism that continues to this day. For example, the established the official cannon Cannon of the Tanach (Bible), they introduced the Feast of Purim. They wrote and instituted the recitation of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" or Amida. They designed the basic system of synagogal prayers, rituals, and benedictions with the creation of the Siddur.

The importance of the work of the Men of the Great Assembly can not be overstated, however, when we seek understanding we go first to the Torah. Torah is our foundation. To more fully understand Torah and its historic presentations we look to the earlier rabbis and sages.

The Written Torah is the preeminent authority and source of all later revelations. For this reason later proposed 'revelations' can never supersede Torah, even if they come as seeming 'voices from the heavens' or are accompanied with diverse seeming miracles. Torah is our bedrock. Because HaTorah is our original and eternally binding revelation, Moshe Rabbeinu, through whom the Torah was transmitted, must be our ultimate and definitive prophet and teacher. This also explains the rabbinic authority to reject would-be Messiahs who fail to meet the biblical qualifications. We will discuss these in a later lesson. The point is, who is qualified to make legal (Halachic) determinations for Israel? Who else but the Rabbis of the generation? This is made clear as Moshe's successor is chosen:

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel obeyed him, and they did as the Lord had commanded Moses.
And there was no other prophet who arose in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
as manifested by all the signs and wonders, which the Lord had sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and all his servants, and to all his land,
and all the strong hand, and all the great awe, which Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel.. -- Deuteronomy 34:8-12, emphasis mine.
The "Men of the Great Assembly" are the founding Pharisees/Rabbis. Their lineage of authority began with the last of the School of the Prophets. According to Jewish tradition the Men of the Great Assembly (or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah) consisted of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets. The Great Assembly began around 516 BCE and sat until the beginning of Alexander's conquests in 333-332 BCE). Its members included prophets such as Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (AKA Ezra), Daniel and others.
They established the primary structure of Judaism that continues to this day. For example, the established the official cannon Cannon of the Tanach (Bible), they introduced the Feast of Purim. They wrote and instituted the recitation of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" or Amida. They designed the basic system of synagogal prayers, rituals, and benedictions with the creation of the Siddur.
The importance of the work of the Men of the Great Assembly can not be overstated, however, when we seek understanding we go first to the Torah. Torah is our foundation. To more fully understand Torah and its historic presentations we look to the earlier rabbis and sages.
The Written Torah is the preeminent authority and source of all later revelations. For this reason later proposed 'revelations' can never supersede Torah, even if they come as seeming 'voices from the heavens' or are accompanied with diverse seeming miracles. Torah is our bedrock. Because HaTorah is our original and eternally binding revelation, Moshe Rabbeinu, through whom the Torah was transmitted, must be our ultimate and definitive prophet and teacher. This also explains the rabbinic authority to reject would-be Messiahs who fail to meet the biblical qualifications. We will discuss these in a later lesson. The point is, who is qualified to make legal (Halachic) determinations for Israel? Who else but the Rabbis of the generation? This is made clear as Moshe's successor is chosen:
"Moses was the first Redeemer and he is the final Redeemer."
The "Men of the Great Assembly" are the founding Pharisees/Rabbis. Their lineage of authority began with the last of the School of the Prophets. According to Jewish tradition the Men of the Great Assembly (or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah) consisted of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets. The Great Assembly began around 516 BCE and sat until the beginning of Alexander's conquests in 333-332 BCE). Its members included prophets such as Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (AKA Ezra), Daniel and others.
They established the primary structure of Judaism that continues to this day. For example, the established the official cannon Cannon of the Tanach (Bible), they introduced the Feast of Purim. They wrote and instituted the recitation of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" or Amida. They designed the basic system of synagogal prayers, rituals, and benedictions with the creation of the Siddur.
The importance of the work of the Men of the Great Assembly can not be overstated, however, when we seek understanding we go first to the Torah. Torah is our foundation. To more fully understand Torah and its historic presentations we look to the earlier rabbis and sages.
The Written Torah is the preeminent authority and source of all later revelations. For this reason later proposed 'revelations' can never supersede Torah, even if they come as seeming 'voices from the heavens' or are accompanied with diverse seeming miracles. Torah is our bedrock. Because HaTorah is our original and eternally binding revelation, Moshe Rabbeinu, through whom the Torah was transmitted, must be our ultimate and definitive prophet and teacher. This also explains the rabbinic authority to reject would-be Messiahs who fail to meet the biblical qualifications. We will discuss these in a later lesson. The point is, who is qualified to make legal (Halachic) determinations for Israel? Who else but the Rabbis of the generation? This is made clear as Moshe's successor is chosen:

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches us:

"Mashiach will conquer the entire world without firing a single bullet" -- Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-67 "

"Mashiach's main weapon is prayer!" -- Likutey Moharan I, 2

Mashiach will conquer the world only through simple people who recite the Psalms simply and sincerely.

You may understand this through a parable about a certain king who went hunting dressed in ordinary clothing for greater comfort. A sudden cloud-burst, a literal flood of water, sent all the ministers scattering in search of shelter. The king was in great danger but finally found the house of a villager, who invited him inside with great honor, dressed him in warm clothes and gave him simple peasant food, lighting a fire and leaving him there to sleep and warm up. The king was so exhausted that the food and rest in the home of the peasant were the sweetest delight, the like of which he felt he had never tasted.

The ministers searched for the king until they came to the peasant's house and found the king asleep. They waited until he awoke. They wanted him to return home with them, but the king said to them: "None of you came to save me: you all scattered in different directions to save yourselves! Only this peasant saved me. Since I have tasted the sweetest delight with him, he will bring me home in his wagon and I will sit on my royal throne in the very clothes in which he dressed me!

Likewise, just before Mashiach comes, there will be a flood of atheism - not a literal flood of water but one of strange thoughts that will cover all the "high mountains" even in the land of Israel, which was not affected by Noah's flood. The rains will teem down with such force that even the "mountains of Israel " will be drenched - even the hearts of the pure will be affected.

Wisdom and sophistication will be of no avail. The only ones who will hold firm are the simple Jews who recite Psalms simply and sincerely. That is why, when the Mashiach comes, they will be the ones who place the royal crown on his head -- Sipurim Niflaim

In the next lesson we will consider the sources of the teachings of our principle teacher, Moshe Rabbeinu. In Lesson 13 we will discuss Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David.

Points to Consider:

Go to Lesson Nine

Got Questions or Comments?

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Be the Blessing you were created to be
And
Don't let the perfect defeat the good

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