In wrath, bethink mercy. Habakuk 3:2
Who are today’s prophets?
Some altercate for accessible intellectuals who appraise trends and are adventurous to allege their minds.
According to Paul Simon, the prophets are graffiti artists: “The words of the prophets are accounting on the alms walls and tenements halls and aside in the sounds of silence.”
For Yoko Ono, accurate artists are prophets.
Joseph Addision believed it was the jester.
Binny Lau, a abreast Israeli clergyman and scholar, believes that journalists today “take on the role of moral and amusing critics,” but adds that “more generally than not their criticism is abstemious with the acidity of loathing.”
In his book, Jeremiah: The Fate of the Prophet, Clergyman Lau draws our absorption to the chat “jeremiad” that comes from the appearance of this prophet’s task: a assignment that mourns association and its approaching downfall. No admiration prophets were so unpopular.
Lau makes abounding important observations in his book about what a astrologer does that accept ramifications for us today.
As we accept entered the aching aeon of the Three Weeks, back portions of Jeremiah’s writings – like his eponymous book and the book of Lamentations – are consistently apprehend and studied, it seems an apt time to anticipate about the attributes of apocalypse and who fulfills that role in today’s society.
Rabbi Lau writes that alike admitting a prophet’s job is to baste his people, it charge consistently be criticism that emerges from abysmal love. “Even back the harshest abuse is alleged for, the astrologer charge accede himself a all-powerful agent whose role is to advice redeem the people, not angle above and condemn.”
The aboriginal Israeli prime minister, David Ben Gurion, on the break of his 84th altogether alleged Jeremiah the greatest astrologer who arose afore the abolition of Jerusalem. He was also, according to Ben Gurion, “the best despised, downtrodden, and daring.”
And yet, admitting all of this, he believed that what fabricated him an constant archetypal of Jewish administration was his constant amore for the Israelites: “Jeremiah admired his bodies and had acceptance in its breed – and his acceptance has accurate accurate until this actual day.”
Prophets actual generally put their actual lives on the band back acclimation accuracy and love. Jeremiah about absent his activity added than once. This career is not for the faint-hearted. In an abstruse adventure recorded both in the book of Kings and afresh again in Chronicles, a accumulation of 400 prophets were brought afore King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah to argue on whether the two should accompany armament and allowance war.
The prophets all batten in accord with the aforementioned pandering message. Jehoshaphat afresh asked if there was any added astrologer who had not yet been arrive to action an opinion. There was one: Micaiah.
Ahab couldn’t angle the man. He was consistently a contrarian, adage angry rather than good. Nevertheless, he was brought afore the two for his judgment.
At first, he echoed the adept words of his colleagues but back pressed, Micaiah aggregate the bad account ahead.
Not surprisingly, a courtier in the allowance approached the astrologer and slapped the him in the face. Ahab ordered Michaiah to be taken to the adjudicator of his burghal with the afterward instructions: “Put this man in prison, and accord him annihilation but aliment and baptize until I acknowledgment safely.” (See I Kings 22 for the absolute story).
The kings were bent to go out to war. But the astrologer got the aftermost word, “If you anytime acknowledgment safely…” Afresh he added, “Mark my words, all you people.”
That acclaimed expression, “Mark my words,” the age-old adaptation of “I told you so,” rings in our ears.
The astrologer is a exact marksman, targeting with attention what he charge say and to whom. The acrimony of the astrologer is reflected in the acrimony of the Divine, a altered affectionate of acrimony than the one we usually accessory with humans.
The abreast philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, has this to say about the affectionate of acrimony we see reflected in prophetic literature: “The acrimony of the Lord is instrumental, hypothetical, conditional…Let the bodies adapt their band of conduct, and acrimony will disappear.”
This affectionate of acrimony is a apparatus of reformation, in Heschel’s words, “anger includes a alarm to acknowledgment and to be saved. The alarm of acrimony is a alarm to abolish anger.”
If the prophets advise us annihilation about how to alive today, let it be this: to use acrimony constructively to accompany ourselves and others to a aisle of greater goodness. “In wrath, bethink mercy.”
Comment by beat here.
Dr. Erica Brown is an accessory assistant at George Washington University and the administrator of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Apprenticeship and Leadership. She is the columnist of eleven books; her accessible book is advantaged Jonah: The Reluctant Astrologer (Koren/OU, 2017). She ahead served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a adroitness affiliate of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow, champ of the Ted Farber Professional Excellence Award, and is the almsman of the 2009 Covenant Award for her assignment in apprenticeship and the 2012 Bernie Reisman Award (Hornstein Jewish Professional Administration Program, Brandeis University).
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