Most who have read or even have the slightest familiarity with the Bible, in this case particularly the Old Testament, know that long ago great Prophets were born in many generations who were able to warn the people of the dire consequences of straying from the ways of the L-rd. Not too surprisingly, they were proven right with the passage of time. Modernists explain that the Prophets talked in such general terms that of course the events they predicted would come true sooner or later. It would be like explaining to the people of New Orleans, which many prophetic engineers had warned, that a sufficiently powerful hurricane would come and breach the levy system if they were not upgraded and maintained. Not much soothsaying happening there, but still, that prophecy did indeed come true with devastating results and footage on the nations television news for months. The same could be said for the Biblical predictions of conquering invading armies when a neighbor was noted to be expanding and building their military. Warning that straying from the chosen path and not also training an army to defend G-d’s precious gift, the Land of Israel, would lead to a devastating foreign conquest and being enslaved did not exactly require rocket science to predict.
So, why did there stop being Prophets? Perhaps it was because the people grew so tired of Prophets that they became seen as doom-sayers and were simply no longer welcome. Whatever the reason, once Rome was finished with the Hebrew people, for a Prophet to rise up amongst them after their dispersal to the far corners of the empire became improbable if not impossible. Now, with about half the Jews we know about in the world living in Israel, and most of the other half in the United States, once again the conditions exist for a Prophet to arrive. The problem today is that nobody would believe or even care should a Prophet rise from among the people. Such a person would be at best ignored, even placed in protective custody, or even assassinated, as was Rabbi Meir Kahane. Currently, we would like to believe we are above such primitive superstitions and the truth lies in scientific proofs and not from Biblical sages. Personally, I think that is sad as we are so very in need of a true Prophet to guide and inspire us.
Looking at the situation in Israel today, a familiar pattern is emerging mirroring many periods from Biblical antiquity. The people are quietly becoming more observant and turning to our Jewish source of saving grace through all times, G-d and the performance of Mitzvoth. But, in the other end of Israeli society is an excessively boisterous minority of what are called post-Zionists who view Israel as just another multi-cultural country amongst an enlightened world of multi-cultural states. Many in this group see holding Israel to be the Jewish State as provincial and archaic. They do not hold with the idea that Israel is a place of special merit where Jews can live up to their Biblical obligations and practice those Mitzvoth and customs that were difficult for us during the nearly two-thousand-years in the Diaspora. They do not hold that Jerusalem is Holy ground, G-d’s City, and a blessing to be treasured and kept whole and cherished with special prayers and loving care. These post-Zionists have no clue to the importance of our Biblical lands and the Holy City of Jerusalem. They see the stories from the Bible of the varied and numerous events that took place in the Judean Hills as well as in the plains between them and the Sea as our rightful claim to the land. To these secularists, everything is negotiable and may be traded for the chimera of peace that will only result if we hold to our traditional lands and our traditional ways. They do not believe the predictions made by Prophets over two-thousand-years ago of the great conflagration that will follow the dividing of the land and Jerusalem will bring down upon us again.
A walk through the Jewish Bible one finds unbelievable miracles that came to the Jews, both individually and as a people, when we valued the L-rd, performed Mitzvoth and lived a life of Torah. Such evidence and purpose has begun to grow amongst the Jews in Israel as well as among some in the Diaspora. This is a positive sign as Israel has flourished when the L-rd our G-d was our inspiration and the ways of man were a secondary consideration. This aggravates the secularists who place mankind and the laws of men above all else. This is where a modern day Prophet would come against their most difficult of obstacles. Upon first glance, a religious Haredi and other Orthodox Jews appear to exist in such a structured society that deviations would seem impossible while the secular Jews appear to be a varied conglomerate where open-mindedness is claimed to be a central tenet in their lives. Yet, upon closer evaluation, quite the opposite is found to be the truth. Where the religious Jews wish that their fellow secular Jews would realize their error in not living a life of Torah, they do not wish them ill will or out of hand dismiss everything they stand for. Even the most strident of the religious Jews look upon all Jews as their brothers and sisters and pray for the best for them. On the other hand, among the secular community you find many who have open contempt and even hatred for the very religious Jews. The secularists oppose almost everything they believe the religious Jews stand for. They ridicule the religious as living in an archaic past with little or no connection to the present and often blame them for many of the problems Jews face from anti-Semitism and other sources. The most extreme of the secular Jews who would be classified as post-modern and post-Zionist live by standards that tolerate absolutely no deviance from their “known truths”, tolerating no debate, no questions. Any person, say a politician, who presents a logical argument may find debate for the most part from the religious Jews with only a few unwilling to listen. On the other hand, a Prophet would not be allowed to even make a presentation and would likely find a riotous mob waiting to violently prevent him from even appearing, let alone speaking. Perhaps this is why we have no Prophets any longer. Maybe such persons of vision can see the futility and have decided they have better things to do. Maybe they exist but end up preaching to the choir not being allowed any venue outside those who believe.
Beyond the Cusp