The Development of Moshe’s Emergence as the Chief of Prophets
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Moshe, the first leader and teacher of the Jewish nation was the greatest prophet who ever lived. The Torah attests to this, כמשה״ בישראל עוד נביא קם ״לא. 1 There will never arise an individual in Israel who will arrive at the prophetic heights that Moshe reached. As the prophet imbued with the wisdom of the entire Torah at Sinai and taught it over to the Jewish nation throughout their travels in the desert, Moshe experienced an intimacy with God and a prophetic experience of an unimaginable caliber. Yet, his extraordinary level of prophecy was not necessarily innate. Moshe’s ability to experience prophecy and share a natural closeness with God developed over his lifetime. An analysis of significant moments of Moshe’s life recorded in the Torah, allows the developmental stages of Moshe’s prophecy to emerge. As a young boy Moshe does not experience prophecy. His first direct encounter with God at the burning bush contains many references to a sub-standard level of prophecy, far from what is expected of the future savior of Israel. However, by the time Moshe ascends Mt. Sinai it is clear that his prophetic experience is unparalleled. This qualifies him to be the bearer of God’s Torah to the Jewish nation ensuring that the Torah is taught to them exactly as God intended. Moshe maintains this exalted state throughout the travels of the nation in the desert as he continues to disseminate God’s word among the people. Finally, at the end of his life, with the writing of Devarim, Moshe actualizes an ability to channel God’s will in his own words. With this final stage, Moshe reaches the apex of his relationship with the Divine word. Until the very end of his life, Moshe experienced ongoing growth in his prophecy and overall connection to God. This thesis will be demonstrated through a thorough examination of the Biblical text and several commentaries.2
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