Prophet Vs Sage | Orot | Rav Kook

Prophecy is a sporadic incursion. (This applies to prophets throughout the ages, with the exception of Moses our Teacher, the Master of Prophets, peace be unto him.) At the time of its appearance, prophecy is revealed with all its spiritual might, so much that the fleshly senses and bodily functions are nullified. But with prophecy’s departure, the spiritual imprints remain in the soul; they are capable of arranging clear conduct for all life’s ways, in accordance with the path paved by the righteousness of the Lord in the Torah, and the morality passed down from generation to generation. Other than the time of the prophecy, the prophet is physically—as well as spiritually—invigorated.

The sages are composed differently. Their spiritual inspiration is never so overwhelming as to bring about a bouleversement of the material order. But on the other hand, their constant spirituality weakens considerably their élan vital, while shedding a middling portion of light upon intellect and morality. Understandably, there is an advantage to this arrangement as well, because of the interaction of intellect and soul, and because of the possibility of constancy, but it lacks that might, that clarity that reveals divine courage, and asserts the rule of good and holiness over the societal collective.

(Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, Shemonah Kevatsim 1:698)

Prophet Vs Sage | Orot | Rav Kook

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