Thursday, August 16, 2007

why nevuah is called divrei kabbalah

I think most people would guess that the gemara calls words of a Navi “divrei kabbalah” because prophecy is received (k-b-l) from G-d, which is exactly how Rashi (Chulin 137a) explains it. Interestingly, some Rishonim (see Shita Mekubetzet B”K 2) write that nevuah is called “kabbalah” based on the same root as “koveil”, to complain, because the Nevi’im were constantly complaining about the bad behavior of Klal Yisrael.
(Prediction: someone out there is going to leave me a comment pointing me to a Mahart”z Chiyus somewhere – fire away!)


  1. it would then be pronounced 'divrei kevalah'

  2. I always wondered why they chose that way of referring to Nevi'im. Why not just say divrei torah midivrei nevi'im? Of course, Moshe Rabbeinu was a navi, but that wouldn't engender any more confusion than divrei kabboloh, since the Torah is also something we were me'kabeil. But if pshat is like the Shittah, then the choice of expression explains why we can't learn one from the other-- because the purpose of the nevi'im was to rebuke and to elicit teshuva, and the manner of expression reflects that primary purpose and not a halachic one.

  3. Another idea that I have heard is that the halachos found in the sifrei neviim were already known and past down as a kabalah but just not written until the time of that navi (e.g. Oneg shabbos in Yeshayahu, eidim on shtar in Yirmiyahu). Hence the kabalah was how the halacha was passed down until it was written.