At bottom it comes to the fact that there were near-prophets and full-prophets — those in the midst of the process, and those who had finished it. What set them apart in the end was the sure and unambiguous sense the full-prophet had that he’d in fact communed with G-d outright.
Know for a certainty, though, that full-prophets were aware of all the likely pitfalls and did all they could to avoid them; indeed, like accomplished physicians, they knew all the signs and symptoms of impending error and just how to solve them. For they were self-aware enough to read their own inner-nuances perfectly, and self-assured enough to correct things gone off.
They also passed all that on to the disciples they’d inducted, since one of the primary tasks of a full-prophet was to ensure the fact that his disciples would be able to differentiate between true and erroneous revelation.
But how could individuals who were being trained to transmit G-d’s messages to His people ever be allowed to misread them, given the dangers of possibly misleading others who depend on prophecy for their service to G-d? We’ll see what lies behind that next time.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel z”l, and Sara Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid, z”l.
Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.