Rav David Samson
Rav David Samson Hezki Ezra

At the center of Matan Torah stands Moshe Rabenu, the greatest of all Prophets. Another principle figure on the Festival of Shavuot is King David. On Shavuot day, many people follow the custom of reading the entire Book of Psalms which were composed with Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration).

When the Jewish People were ousted from their Land and dispersed amongst the nations, Prophecy came to a halt. Lamenting the destruction of the First Temple, Yirmeyahu declares, “The Prophets also no longer found vision from Hashem” (Eicha, 2:9).

Prophecy, however, is an innate talent of the Jewish People which is destined to reappear as the beginning of Redemption, which we are experiencing today, becomes increasingly filled with the spirit of Torah.

The Prophet Yoel encourages the exiled Jewish People with the reassurance that prophecy will once again return to its status of yore:

“And it will come to pass afterwards and I will pour My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your elders shall dream dreams, your young men shall see prophetic visions and even upon the slaves and maidservants I will pour My spirit in those days” (Yoel, 3:1-2).

Rabbi Kook writes:

“The great T’shuva (return to Torah) that will revive the Nation and bring Redemption to itself and to the world will be T’shuva that stems from Ruach HaKodesh which will once again become widespread. Ruach HaKodesh is the talent of prophecy in its initial stages before it fully matures. It is a talent coupled with Israel from the onset of their existence, as it says, ‘And you have given them your good spirit to imbue them with knowledge’ (Nechemia, 9:20). This Ruach HaKodesh never disappears from the spiritual paragons of the Nation. It beats within the spirit of every heart with due measure, to each with a specifically defined amount. It uplifts and refines the spirit of the great Talmidei Chochamim, those insightful few who learn Torah for its own sake, along with the great benefactors whose entire spiritual life is a magnificent cascade of charity and good deeds, and writers endowed with the spirit of Divine ethics and holiness, all they who think well of Israel and the entire world (Orot, Orot HaTechiya, 69).

Rabbi Kook continues:

“The T’shuva that is meant for Israel, the T’shuva that will elevate their prominence and lead the way to total Redemption, will arrive via the return of the power of Ruach HaKodesh sweeping through the entire Nation. Ruach HaKodesh is actually the unique prophetic talent in its premature state… (there, 70).

The cessation of Prophecy during the exile was largely due to our separation from our unique Holy Land. The classic treatise of Jewish Faith, Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi’s “HaKuzari,” states that prophecy is unique to the Land of Israel or for the Land of Israel, as in the example of the prophecy of Moshe which came to facilitate the return of the Jewish People to the Promised Land. While Ruach HaKodesh can appear anywhere in the world, the home of Prophecy is in Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Kook explains:

“It is impossible for a Jew to be devoted and faithful to his contemplations, logical reason, conceptualizations and imaginations when he is outside the Land of Israel, compared to their quality of faithfulness in Eretz Yisrael. Revelations of holiness, on whatever level, are clean in Eretz Yisrael according to their level, while outside the Land of Israel, they are mixed with abundant dross and spiritually polluted husks” (Orot, Eretz Yisrael, 1:4).

These matters and more are explained in the new book “Contact” by Rabbi David Samson. He declares, “Our imminent anticipation is not only in regard to the complete return of the Jewish People to our Land and to its former physical stature. We must strive to return once again to our true spiritual nature of being – a glorious and holy Nation of Prophets.”

Previously, Rabbi Samson has published several books on the writings of Rabbi Kook, as well as the book “Torat Eretz Yisrael” on the teachings of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He writes: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply talk to God, to have a real conversation, to be able to ask God Himself why the sky is blue or why bad things happen to good people? Wouldn’t it be great to have a dialogue with Hashem? Imagine a conversation with God that includes not only hard questions but authentic answers as well, answers that we don’t have to scrutinize with suspicion to determine their origin. An axiom of Jewish belief is that such a dialogue is possible.

The Rambam writes: ‘One of the foundations of faith is that God reveals his will to man via Prophecy,’” (Rambam, Yesodei HaDat, 7:1).

Knowing that this connection is possible makes the challenge alluring. Indeed it is within our grasp. Needless to say, the path of serious Torah study, spiritual cleansing, and the refinement of character traits necessary for the attainment of Ruach HaKodesh and Prophecy is not an easy journey. Originally, the book “Contact” contained three sections, two of which the author decided to delete from the published version – Rabbi Kook’s commentary to “Mesillat Yesharim” and a chapter detailing the practical methodology of Jewish Meditation used by Kabbalists such as the Arizal, Rabbi Haim Vital, and Rabbi Avraham Abulafia.

“Jewish Meditation is very high-powered stuff,” Rabbi Samson warns. “Clearly it is not for every novice. This is the reason the secrets were kept concealed for generations. For now, I decided to publish only a general introduction to the theme, covering things like the levels of Ruach HaKodesh, Dreams, Maggidim, Encounters with Eliahu HaNavi and with the Souls of Tzaddikim, without describing the precise things a seeker must do to make actual and static-free contact.” At present he teaches the Kabbalistic secrets to a small group of longtime Torah scholars who have the solid foundation needed for the out-of-body flights involved in Jewish Meditation.

In honor of the Festival of Shavuot, I would like to quote an excerpt from a fascinating story from the book describing the Shavuot night when a Maggid (Heavenly Angel) spoke in the name of the Shechinah (Divine Presence) through the lips of the “Beit Yosef,” Rabbi Yosef Karo. While the Maggid first appeared to him while he still lived in Turkey, one of the reasons for its appearance was to command Rabbi Karo and his colleagues to make Aliyah to the Holy Land, where the reception of Divine Enlightenment is pure. The amazing firsthand testimony was recorded by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, a renowned scholar, Kabbalist, and the author of the song, “Lecha Dodi.” He writes:

“I want you to know that the pious one (referring to Rabbi Yosef Karo), may the Merciful One watch over him and bring him salvation, and I, his and your servant, agreed to stay awake all night on the night of Shavuot. May the Lord be praised - we were successful for we didn’t stop learning for even a moment except for what you must hear to your soul’s delight.”

After detailing the night’s program of study which was conducted with melody and chanting, he continues:

“When we began to learn Kabbalah, our Creator merited us and we heard a voice speaking in the mouth of the pious one (Rabbi Yosef Karo) may the merciful one watch him and grant him salvation. We heard a loud articulated voice. All of the neighbors also heard the voice but they were unable to understand it. It was exceptionally sweet sounding and booming. We all fell on our faces. We were so terrified, no one dared lift his eyes or head to look.

“The voice was speaking to us and it began by saying: Listen to me my friends, the elite amongst those who glorify me, my beloved friends. Shalom to you. You and those who begot you are fortunate. You are fortunate in this world and fortunate in the next world because you took upon yourselves to adorn me this night. It has been a number of years now that the crown of my head has fallen and there is no one to console me. I am cast to the dust embracing sordid refuse, but now you have returned the crown to its status of yore. Be emboldened my friends, be courageous my beloved, rejoice in gladness and know that you are the elite and have merited to belong in the palace of the King. The voice of your Torah and the breath of your mouths has risen to the Holy One Blessed Be He. It has passed through many atmospheres and firmaments until it rose. Angels were silenced and Serafim were muted and the Chayot stopped in their tracks. All of the Holy One’s hosts listened to your voices.

“Behold I am the Mishna that rebukes man. I have come to speak with you. If you were ten in number you would have risen even higher and higher. Nevertheless, you have ascended. You my friends and those who begot you are so fortunate for remaining awake tonight. Through you, I myself have been rectified tonight. By you and other friends in the large communities of Israel.

“You are not like those who sleep upon ivory beds. Sleep is one sixtieth of death. You are not like those who squalor on their mattresses. You have clung to Hashem and He is happy with you. Therefore, my children adopt vigor, courage and joy for my love, for my Torah and for my Awe. If you could imagine a millionth or even a billionth of the anguish I suffer you would never be able to experience an iota of joy in your hearts, nor could you ever muster a smile on your faces for because of (the sins of the Jewish People) I am cast to the dust. Therefore, be strong, be courageous, be joyful, my companions and don’t stop your study for you now are cherished and your Torah is delightful to the Holy One Blessed Be He. Stand my sons on your feet and rectify me. Proclaim with a loud voice like on Yom Kippur, ‘Blessed is the honorable Name of his Kingdom for ever and ever.’

“We stood trembling on our feet, and we proclaimed the words out loud as we were commanded. The voice returned and told us, ‘My fortunate sons return to your study and don’t waste a moment. Make Aliya to Israel for not all times are equal. Nothing bars Hashem from salvation with either the many or the few. Have not pity upon your earthly vessels for you shall have sustenance from the goodness of the spiritual Land. If you harken to my words you will nurse from the goodness of that Land. Therefore, hurry and make Aliya for I am the one who gives you sustenance and I am the one who will continue to provide for you... See that it is me who is explaining this to you.

"Wake up, my dear friends, summon courage and become men of war. Be careful of cynicism and be strong. Cast away the façade (of material existence) and see how you are drunk from the desires of this world. Wake up from your stupor, for behold a day is coming when man will remove his silver gods and stop worshiping possessions with earthly pleasures. He will remove his gods of gold and overcome his lust for money. Make Aliya to Israel now because you indeed can. It’s just that you are swamped in the quicksand of lust for this world’s vanities. Anyone of you who turns back is responsible for his own death. See what you have merited to witness, that which others for many generations have not merited. Peace be with you. Peace be with your homes and may peace reside in all that you own. Hashem endows his Nation with valor. Hashem will bless his Nation with peace.’”

Have a happy and healthy Shavuot.

[The book “Contact” is available at Pomeranz Bookstore in Jerusalem and Amazon Kindle.]