As he passed Chavah’s room, Mr. Schwartz saw her bent over a book, reading. Tiptoeing in, he glanced at the sefer; it was a Tanach.

That made him happier. It was half an hour past Chavah’s bedtime,and he had thought of giving her a good scolding. But he would not scold his child for learning Tanach.

“What are you reading about, Chavah?” Mr. Schwartz asked.

“The prophets Eliyahu and Elisha,” Chavah answered. “Those were special times. Eliyahu and Elisha worked miracles and foretold the future. Everyone was able to see that HaShem rules the world and watches over His people.”

Chavah paused for a second and then asked: “Ta, why aren’t there prophets like that today?”

“That’s what galus means, Chavah,” Mr. Schwartz answered. “In galus, we know HaShem is here, and that He watches over us, but we can’t see Him as openly as the people could when the Beis HaMikdash was standing.”

“Look, I understand that galus makes a difference, Ta. But Yechezkel was a prophet in galus. He didn’t perform great miracles like Eliyahu and Elisha, but he foretold the future, and he brought HaShem’sword to our people. So there were prophets even in galus. Can there be prophets today?”

“We may be able to answer your question by looking into the Gemara, Chavah. When the Gemara talks about this, it says ‘When Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi died, nistalkah ruach hakodesh m’Yisrael, the spirit of prophecy departed from Am Yisrael.’

“That seems to mean that we won’t have any more prophets,” said Chavah.

“Just a moment, Chavah. The Gemara uses the word nistalkah — departed. Does that remind you of another Hebrew word we use when great people depart from this world?”

“Yes — histalkus. That’s what we say when we talk about the Rebbeim passing away.”

“And what did the Rebbe tell us that means?”

“That they’re still with us, but on a higher level.”

“Well the same is true about prophecy. If we look in the passage of the Gemara which talks about this, we find that the words were chosen carefully. When speaking about other subjects, the Gemara uses the word batlah (“it was nullified”), or paskah (“it ceased”). When it speaks about prophecy, it doesn’t say that. It says nistalkah — it went up to a higher level. This means that even today it is possible to become a prophet; one simply has to reach that level.”

“But is that really possible, Ta? Has anybody ever done it?”

“Well, in his letter Iggeres Taiman, the Rambam speaks about prophets. And Tosafos speaks about ‘Ezra, the prophet.’ And that doesn’t mean the Ezra of the Tanach, buta Rabbi named Ezra who lived in France in the 1200s.”

“Okay, but still, you’re speaking about things which happened almost 800 years ago. Can anyone reach that level today?”

“You tell me, Chavah.”

“What do you mean?”

“Haven’t you seen and read about prophets?”

“Do you mean the Rebbeim?”

“Of course I do. In Iggeres Taiman, the Rambam also writes that ‘To prepare for Mashiach’s coming... prophecy will return to Israel.’ Every one of us has to know that the teachings of the Rebbe and of the Rebbeim that came before him are ‘the word of HaShem which He revealed to His prophets.’ We have a great zechus to know about those teachings, and a great responsibility to live up to them. HaShem gave the Rebbeim the gift of prophecy so that they could teach us how to make the world ready for Mashiach.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 70ff; Sefer HaSichos 5751, p. 780ff)