Prophecy: Only when Glad?

Rabbi Israel Chait

Reader:  Rambam said prophecy is possible when one is in the best state of mind and happy. Why then do we see many cases where a prophet foretells depressing news such as Eicha? Also when Yakov was afraid of Eisav and God had to reassure him that he will be with him.

Regards, Omphile Tshipa

Rabbi Israel Chait: There are two types of prophecy: one [is for] the increase of knowledge of the prophet and to expand his mind. The second is when there is an urgency: a message must be given...something must be done. It is only in the first type that the prophet must be happy and in a good state of mind. An example of the first kind is the brachot where God gave Yakov an in-depth understanding of all the generations of Yakov and Eisav. An example of the second kind was the Megillah Esther which informed them that if they do not surrender to Nebuchadnezer, they are doomed.