Testing A Navi

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לע”נ הקדוש ר’ ארי פולד ז”ל הי”ד 



The Rambam says [Yesodei Hatorah 10-5]: 

נביא שהעיד לו נביא אחר שהוא נביא הרי הוא בחזקת נביא ואין זה השני צריך חקירה שהרי משה רבינו העיד ליהושע והאמינו בו כל ישראל קודם שיעשה אות וכן לדורות נביא שנודעה נבואתו והאמינו בדבריו פעם אחר פעם או שהעיד לו נביא והיה הולך בדרכי הנבואה אסור לחשב אחריו ולהרהר בנבואתו שמא אינה אמת ואסור לנסותו יותר מדאי ולא נהיה הולכים ומנסים לעולם שנאמר לא תנסו את ה’ אלהיכם כאשר נסיתם במסה שאמרו היש ה’ בקרבנו אם אין אלא מאחר שנודע שזה נביא יאמינו וידעו כי ה’ בקרבם ולא יהרהרו ולא יחשבו אחריו כענין שנאמר וידעו כי נביא היה בתוכם:

When a prophet proclaims that another individual is [also] a prophet, we accept the latter as a prophet without requiring [any further] investigation. Thus, after Moses, our teacher, proclaimed that Joshua [was a prophet], all the Jews believed in him before he performed any wonders. The same holds true for subsequent generations.

Once a prophet has made known his prophecy, and his words have proven true time after time, or another prophet has proclaimed him a prophet, if he continues in the path of prophecy, it is forbidden to doubt him or to question the truth of his prophecy.

[When establishing the authenticity of a prophet,] it is forbidden to test him more than necessary. We may not continue to test him forever, as [Deuteronomy 6:15] states: “Do not test God, your Lord, as you tested him in Marah,” when [the Jews] said [Exodus 17:7]: “Is God in our midst or not?” Rather, once an individual is established as a prophet, we should believe in him and know that God is in our midst. We should not doubt or question him, as implied by [Ezekiel 2:5]: “They shall know that a prophet was in their midst.”

We see from the Rambam that the איסור from the pasuk “לא תנסו” is to test a Navi. Once he has been established as a Navi we must accept him. 

There are a number of problems with this. 

1] The Gemara in Taanis [9a] says as follows:

עשר תעשר עשר בשביל שתתעשר

“A tithe shall you tithe [te’aser]” (Deuteronomy 14:22)? This phrase can be interpreted homiletically: Take a tithe [asser] so that you will become wealthy [titasher], in the merit of the mitzva.

אשכחיה ר’ יוחנן לינוקא דריש לקיש אמר ליה אימא לי פסוקיך א”ל עשר תעשר א”ל ומאי עשר תעשר א”ל עשר בשביל שתתעשר אמר ליה מנא לך א”ל זיל נסי

Rabbi Yoḥanan found the young son of Reish Lakish. He said to the boy: Recite to me your verse, i.e., the verse you studied today in school. The boy said to him: “A tithe shall you tithe.” The boy further said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: But what is the meaning of this phrase: “A tithe shall you tithe”?Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: The verse means: Take a tithe so that you will become wealthy. The boy said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: From where do you derive that this is so? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Go and test it.

אמר ליה ומי שרי לנסוייה להקב”ה והכתיב (דברים ו, טז) לא תנסו את ה’ א”ל הכי אמר רבי הושעיא חוץ מזו שנאמר (מלאכי ג, י) הביאו את כל המעשר אל בית האוצר ויהי טרף בביתי ובחנוני נא בזאת אמר ה’ צבאות אם לא אפתח לכם את ארובות השמים והריקותי לכם ברכה עד בלי די

The boy said to him: And is it permitted to test the Holy One, Blessed be He? But isn’t it written: “You shall not test the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16)? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to the boy that Rabbi Hoshaya said as follows: It is prohibited to test God in any way, except in this case of tithes, as it is stated: “Bring the whole tithe into the storeroom, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now by this, said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing that there shall be more than sufficiency” (Malachi 3:10).

So we see that from the pasuk of לא תנסון it is forbidden to test Hashem if He will reward us when we do mitzvos – and has nothing to do with a Navi, as the Rambam claims?! 

2] Also, the Rambam quotes the pasuk of לא תנסו את השם כאשר ניסיתם במסה and explains that the test was היש ה’ בקרבנו – Is Hashem among us. But this seems to be ALL WRONG. The Rambam, לשיטתו, SHOULD have said that you are not allowed to test MOSHE because the issue here is testing a Navi and is not testing Hashem. So why the pasuk about testing HASHEM? 

3] After the Torah says לא תנסו  it goes on and says

שָׁמוֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן, אֶת-מִצְוֺת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, וְעֵדֹתָיו וְחֻקָּיו, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ.  וְעָשִׂיתָ הַיָּשָׁר וְהַטּוֹב, בְּעֵינֵי יְ-ה-וָ-ה לְמַעַן, יִיטַב לָךְ, וּבָאתָ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה, אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע יְ-ה-וָ-ה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ.

Diligently keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, and His testimonies. and His statutes, which He has commanded you. And you shall do what is proper and good in the eyes of the Lord, in order that it may be well with you, and that you may come and possess the good land which the Lord swore to your forefathers.

How does that connect to the previous pasuk about not testing a Navi??