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In continuation of a previous article I wrote talking about False Prophets, I would like to continue with who the real, true prophets are today.
While I agree that we do not have prophets today on the scale of our prophets of the Tanach (Bible), we still have many holy and righteous people proclaiming the word of G-d – to their peril.
If being a prophet of G-d was easy and prestigious, then we would not have had the story of Jonah and the Whale, where Jonah (Yonah) tried to run away from G-d and hide, in order NOT to be the one to have to relay G-d’s message to Nineveh. We also wouldn't read about Jeremiah being thrown into jail, and we wouldn’t have seen Elijah have to hide from King Ahab. It’s not fun being a prophet.
So, who are the people today that are proclaiming G-d’s words to the public, and how are they treated?
Rabbi Meir Kahane Z"L, who many believe was a modern day prophet, warned the Jewish people and the world about what would happen in the future regarding the Arab threat. Today we see that what he stated has come to pass. Read this book to find out what he said.
Today we see graffiti all over Israel spray painted on walls which states: "Kahane was right". Yet, what was Kahane’s life like as a modern day prophet? Let’s see, hmmm, Rabbi Kahane, in order to make ends meet, had to wake up before dawn and drive around in an old car and deliver news papers early in the morning. He had to take on extra work as a taxi driver (can you imagine hailing a taxi in New York and having Rabbi Kahane as your driver???). He became a sports writer - all this just to make ends meet. And finally, after starting the Jewish Defense League (JDL), he worked after hours, not in a plush complex, but in a small office in an old building, furnished only with a few worn wooden tables and chairs, an old typewriter, and for decoration, a few posters of Israel taped to the wall. Stacks of mimeographed JDL flyers sat stacked on the tables and a couple of telephones to make calls to organize protests sat on a desk. Rabbi Kahane was often roughed up and arrested by police at demonstrations and he had numerous court cases and charges brought against him for his activism on behalf of Soviet Jewry. Police broke his finger and battered his arm, and he had the FBI following him and making him trouble. In short, he didn’t have an easy or cushy life. He suffered for the mitzvah of 'Ahavat Yisrael', love for one's fellow Jew.
Who are the other prophets of today, people who are proclaiming G-d’s word?
The Tzvia Sariel’s of today. Tzvia is a young woman who recently turned 18 in jail here in Israel. She was arrested for her activism and was put in jail and held for 3 months because she refused to recognize the authority of the Israeli justice system which runs on laws that were left over from previous occupation forces like Britain and the Ottoman Empire. She boldly stated that she only recognizes Jewish law in Israel. Because of her strong stance, she was left in jail as a punishment, an ‘example’ to anyone else who might wish to reject the set of laws still existing in Israel today. Tzvia is a modern day prophet. She is someone who is not afraid to proclaim the truth that this Land was given to the Jewish people by G-d and that we have the right to settle in it anywhere we choose.
The thirteen to fifteen year old girls who were also in jail for refusing to identify themselves to the police, because they do not recognize their authority, are modern day prophets who are fighting and making a stance that G-d and His Torah are truth, and not this secular government which runs on foreign laws.
Nadia Matar, co-Chairman of Women in Green who organizes protests and fights for the Land of Israel, she is a true prophet. She was brought up on charges for insulting a public official, one who had voluntarily taken on a job which entailed transferring Jews out of their homes in Gush Katif in order that it be given over to the enemies of the Jewish people. She doesn't have an easy life. She gets castigated and roughed up by security forces for her activism. She is like a Deborah or Yael of yore, a brave Jewish woman who leaves her comfort zone to go out and protect the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
All those today who stand for G-d and proclaim His word, no matter if they are scoffed at, have their bones broken, or sit in jail – THESE are the true prophets of today.
One would think that a prophet is someone who wears a long robe, has a long majestic beard and stands on a hill top and proclaims the word of G-d to an entranced crowd that shows him great honor. It is not so.
The true prophets of today do not have the title “President” in front of their names, like Shimon Peres has. They do not walk down red carpets. They do not socialize with the ‘Beautiful Elite People’. They do not receive honor, wear thousand dollar suits or receive fancy invitations to international galas. The true prophets of today are spat on, kicked around, castigated, arrested and sit in jail. They are people working three jobs, driving taxis, living on hill tops in tents or make shift housing because they live their belief of settling the Land of Israel. They are the people who get beat up at demonstrations and sit in jail. These are today’s true prophets.
In closing, I’d like to explain a passage from the book of Jeremiah. In 36:4-7, it talks about Jeremiah telling Baruch the son of Neriah, to transcribe all the words that G-d had spoken to Jeremiah on a scroll. Then Jeremiah tells Baruch: “And Jeremiah commanded to Baruch saying, “I am detained; I cannot go to the Temple of Hashem. So you go and read from the scroll, on which you have written the words of Hashem from my mouth, in the ears of the people…”
Now, what does it mean when Jeremiah says he was ‘detained’? What possibly could be more important than doing G-d’s word, going to the Holy Temple and reading to the people G-d’s word and imploring the people to repent? What was he detained with? Did he have an appointment with his manicurist? Did he have a lunch date with a business partner? Did he have a 12 step group meeting for Prophets Anonymous? What could be more important than doing G-d’s work?
The Radak, (Rabbi David Kimchi, one of our great Torah commentators) lets us understand about Jeremiah and his being ‘detained’. He writes: “As often happened, Jeremiah had been ARRESTED for his ‘demoralizing and seditious’ statements.”
So, here we see that the King’s guards were sent to arrest the ‘rabble rouser prophet’ who preached unpopular messages to the people, messages the King and his ministers did not like. And in our day, Rabbi Kahane, Nadia Matar, and all the others who stand for G-‘s word, they too, like Jeremiah, are castigated, arrested, and have to sit in jail. It's not fun being a prophet.
Not much has changed, has it?
**** Additon to blog, by request of Michelle to include this picture. See talk-back #52 (This photo taken by Oded Balilty won a Pulitzer Prize)