Prophecy & The Yetzer Hara

Ben at Daf Notes inquired regarding Sukkah 37 as it pertains to the term tzofeh and prophecy:

The Mishnah states that Rabbi Akiva said, “Tzofeh hayisi beRabban Gamliel,” I was watching Rabban Gamliel. Why does the Mishnah use the word tzofeh and not the conventional word for sight, roeh? The word tzofeh is often associated with prophecy …

I found this at shemayisrael sedra selections:

The Maharsh”a explains the words “upon noting his beauty his evil inclination took a hold of him and was ready to make him sin to the extent that he would lose his share in the world to come” in a homiletic manner. The evil inclination used his beauty as a tool to make him sin. This can be the intention of the words “Tzofeh rosho latzadik um’va’keish lahamiso” (T’hilim 37:32). The evil inclination is the “rosho.” He peers at the righteousness, the beauty of the tzadik, telling the tzadik to be quite pleased with himself and his righteous actions, to rest on his laurels, and through this he attempts to bring him to his death, to a spiritual downfall.

Perhaps Rabbi Akiva was “peering” at Rabban Gamliel in the same manner that the yetzer hara was “peering” at the tzadik in the above quote – to cause his downfall. Just a thought. Akiva was a rabbi and Gamliel was a rabban. Rabban is a more prestigious title than rabbi, yes?

Comments?

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7 Responses to “Prophecy & The Yetzer Hara”

  1. Ben Says:

    I don’t believe that Rabbi Akiva would be seeking the downfall of Rabbi Akiva, and I certainly would not suggest it based on the wording of the Mishnah. My interpretation was merely speculative but not disparaging.

  2. Ben Says:

    I meant Rabbi Akiva would not be seeking the downfall of Rabban Gamliel.

  3. liorah Says:

    I don’t believe that Rabbi Akiva would be seeking the downfall of Rabbi Akiva,

    I wouldn’t have thought it either.

    I certainly would not suggest it based on the wording of the Mishnah.

    Why not?

    My interpretation was merely speculative …

    Of course.

    … but not disparaging.

    Of course not.

  4. Ben Says:

    because one must be careful when discussing the authors of the Mishnah. We cannot suggest that one sought the downfall of the other. That would be beyond absurd.

  5. liorah Says:

    I’m a rasha. Consequently, I would not be above exploring the possibility if the evidence suggested it.

  6. Ben Says:

    I read your bio but I would not rush to declare yourself a rasha. Reshaim are not usually interested in Torah blogs. There’s hope for everyone.

  7. liorah Says:

    It doesn’t matter whether I am a rasha or a tzedeket. Life is hell either way. There’s hope for no one. It’s all pointless.

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