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Parsha Mitzvot: Terumah: A Voice From The Ark

There was an illiterate child in Laredo who sang sweet songs automatically and who prescribed an effective cure for a sick person. By means of a divine name, a certain preacher in Germany delivered marvelous sermons. The Rashba states that he knew personally a German Jew named Abraham of Cologne who changed his name to Nathan. When this man stood in the synagogue, a mysterious voice emerged from the arc delivering marvelous sermons, the like of which had never been heard. Rabbi Abulafia claimed, in fact, that it was the voice of Elijah that was heard. The Rashba admits that he is as puzzled as his questioner by the whole matter, into which a thorough investigation is required. Is the report true, for instance, that Rabbi Abulafia had never sat at the feet of a great master of the law?

It has always been to the credit of Jews that they preferred to endure the bitter yoke of exile then to entertain false hopes by uncritically accepting the claims of messianic pretenders. They did not believe even in Moses until he had demonstrated the truth of his message by the miracles he performed.

The Rashba concludes: “May the God of Truth show us a true sign through His true prophet Elijah, of who is coming we have been assured.”  (Teshuvot Rashba 3548)

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