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"You shall place the Cover on the Ark from above, and into the Ark shall you place the Testimonial-tablets that I shall give you. It is there that I will set My meetings with you, and I shall speak with you from atop the Cover, from between the two Cherubim that are on the Ark of the Testimonial tablets, everything that I shall command you to the Children of Israel" (Shemos 25:21-22).

After the Tabernacle was erected, Hashem would speak to Moshe from atop the Cover, from between the two Cherubim that are on the Ark of the Testimonial tablets. This was the highest level of Prophecy which only Moshe Rabbeinu was privileged to achieve. Other prophets had various levels of Prophecy but all were beneath his.

Today, there is no Prophecy. The Gemara says (Bava Basra 12b) that from the day of the destruction of the Holy Temple, Prophecy was taken away from the Prophets. However, there still are lower levels of communication with G-d. One of them is Ruach Hakodesh, which literally means the Holy Spirit. Contrary to popular misconception, the Ramban in Parashas Balak explains that Ruach Hakodesh is nothing more than Divine Inspiration. As opposed to the prophet who actually hears the Voice of Hashem speaking to him, one who is privileged to experience Ruach Hakodesh simply thinks of something which Hashem planted in his brain to do or say or write. King Dovid, who wrote the Psalms, expressed this occurrence when he said (2 Shemuel 23:2), "The Spirit of Hashem spoke within me, and His word was on my tongue." Usually, it is assumed that only someone on a very high level can attain it. However, Reb Shalom Shvadron zt"l once told me an interesting story.

A fine yeshiva boy in his neighborhood got engaged to the daughter of a rich businessman who promised him a large wedding dowry so that he would be able to continue to learn Torah for many years to come. The next morning, Reb Shalom was in the mikveh (ritual bath) and was thinking about the local simchah. Suddenly, a thought penetrated his mind. I bet that the future father in law will come to the chosson (groom) with a proposition to give him back the money and invest it in his business and reap the profits for himself. That way, he'll argue, everyone will be happy: the father in law, the groom and the bride. The young man will surely be too uncomfortable to refuse, and he'll feel trapped.

Truthfully, thought Reb Shalom, it's really not such a bad idea, since the successful man had a thriving business. Nevertheless, the Gemara (Bava Metzia 42a) advises that one who has money at his disposal should divide it into three: one third he should maintain in cash; one third he should invest in real estate and only one third he should invest in business. Therefore, Reb Shalom concluded, he should not be embarrassed to refer his future shver (father in law) to the words of the Rabbis of the Talmud, and should only agree to invest a third of his dowry in his business.

The problem was that in the Jerusalem of those days, practically no one had telephones at home, certainly not Reb Shalom, and he didn't know where the young man lived. Reb Shalom felt the urge to advise him right away, before his future father in law approached him, but he did not know how or where to find him.

As he was thinking about the problem, the door to the mikveh opened up and who do you think walked in? The chosson himself! In a few words, apropos for the surroundings, Reb Shalom passed on the advice of the Sages to a member of the next generation.

That same evening, the groom came to Reb Shalom to thank him for his guidance, and, in general, for thinking about him. Amazed, and bubbling over with excitement, he related that that very day, the future shver had called him and proposed that he invest his entire dowry in his business. Had it not been for his advice, he said, he would have felt compelled to comply. But Reb Shalom had saved him! The young man concluded that, undoubtedly, Reb Shalom surely had Ruach Hakodesh otherwise how could he have possibly known exactly what was going to transpire and when.

However, in his modesty, Reb Shalom said to me, "Reb Ben Zion, you know me well and you know that I don't have Ruach Hakodesh. However, I will explain to you what actually happened. When someone thinks about someone else and really wants to help him, Hashem makes it possible for him to do so, even if it means granting him Ruach Hakodesh for a while, although he does not deserve it!"

Let's start to really want to help others and we will be privileged to attain even levels that we don't deserve and we will be truly happy in this world and in the World-to-Come.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel