Sources on the wisdom of talmidei chachamim and tzadikim:
(1) Ramban (Baba Basra 12) in his analysis of the sugya of chacham adif m’navi writes that although prophecy called nevua is no longer extant, there still exists a lower form of prophecy given over to the chachamim.
(2) Ra’avad writes in his gloss (hil lulav ch 8) ‘hinei kamah shanim hofia ruach hakodesh b’beis medrasheinu…’, for many years ruach hakodesh has been present in our bais medrash.
(3) Divrei Chaim (not me! the real one, i.e. the Sanzer Rav) writes in a tshuvah (Y.D. 105) that a teacher who does not accept the fact that the Ohr HaChaim was written b’ruach hakodesh should be dismissed and is de facto an apikores for denying that the gedolim of the generation are endowed with ruach hakodesh.
(4) Rambam (Hil Tshuvah perek 3) counts as a kofer one who is ‘makchish magideha’, one who contradicts talmidei chachamim who are bearers of the mesorah. You can watch a video shiur of R’ M. Rozensweig, a Rosh Yeshiva at YU, where he discusses this Rambam in the context of da’as Torah and develops the theme that the continuance of tradition relies on certain talmidei chachamim the scope of whose knowledge transcends the sum total of facts they know and who embody the spirit of the Torah itself (I happened to have heard the shiur first hand).
I purposely cite R’ Rozensweig, a PhD-holding clean shaven YU Rosh Yeshiva along with the Divrei Chaim so that the forest is not lost for the trees – I am not interested in defending the precise halachic parameters of the D.C.’s tshuvah so much as reflecting on the attitude inherent in his approach. Recognizing that certain tzadikim and talmidei chachamim are endowed with perspective to make decisions that effect the Torah world even when they cannot reduce their answer to a clear formulation or intellectual argument from precedent is a view shared by the entire spectrum of orthodoxy and not particular to a marginal stream. Differences in the scope and degree to which we take this idea, or whether it should be labeled ‘ruach hakodesh’, ‘da’as torah’, or a ‘transcendent perspective’ should not obscure the fundamental agreement on principle.
When one reads or hears words of tzadikim or talmidei chachamim that at first blush seem wrong or incomprehensible, then it seems to me we owe those words a little more consideration than we might give an op-ed of the NY Times. “Afilu sichas chulin shel talmidei chachamim tz’richa Talmud” – even the mundane speech of a talmid chacham requires Talmud, i.e. investigation and insight to properly understand, kal v’chomer when these words are intended to address serious issues of torah. Sometimes it is possible to elicit clarification directly from the speaker or writer, and where not possible, we should at least keep our mind open to the possibility that the misunderstanding is due to the limitations of our own perspective and not due to a chisaron in the tzadik or talmid chacham. We certainly owe the leaders of our people the benefit of the doubt.
(Yes, I know I am probably preaching to the converted, and yes, this is in response to something particular, but l'chol hapachos the mareh mekomos are worth seeing and at least I said my 2 cents. The distortions, misunderstandings, and leitzanus spread in the same of discussing judaism is sometimes depressing - sorry, I don't know a better way to put it.)