Urim ve•Tu•mim is a mysterious measure of communicating God’s answers to crucial questions of kings and leaders through the High Priest, ha•ko•hen ha•ga•dol. This mysterious device was placed over the breastplate of judgment which was upon the High Priest’s heart ‘when he goes in before the Lord.’ Exodus Chapter 28:30. The concept becomes even stranger because it contradicts the core teachings of the Bible, according to which future telling is forbidden, or at least discouraged:
’The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever’
The only acceptable future telling is initiated by God who uses the prophets to tell people their fate. It is mostly coupled with warnings or it manifests as prophecies of comfort.
There is no avenue for people to address God directly with questions about the future. This is evident also in the New Testament:
‘He said to them, ‘It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.’
The question is then, why has God allowed such an instrument as Urim ve•Tu•mim?
There isn’t any scholar or Bible expert in the world who can reconcile this contradiction with a reliable answer. The concrete question is what kind of instrument was it that allowed remote voice communication with God? The popular believe is that the Urim ve•Tu•mim were the precious gems that were set in the Priest’s breastplate.
If you have even the most basic knowledge of Hebrew (and we encourage you to obtain such knowledge if you seek a deeper level of understanding the Bible) a possible and different answer would pop in front of your eyes just by looking at the first word of Urim ve•Tu•mim. It is written with ‘alef’ ‘vav’ and ‘reysh.’ A quick look at a dictionary will lead you to the light! These letters mean ‘light.’ This is just a hint, but it may be significant. It may mean an instrument of communication which emits light. Sounds familiar? Do you too happen to own some communication instrument that emits light?
‘Tumin’ comes from a root which means ‘completeness.’ Could it be a reference to the divine entity? The common theory though suggests the meaning: ‘truth.’
The Greek and Roman mythologies ‘stole’ the idea of communication with the superior power and consulted with their gods via the oracle who used alleged various instruments for this purpose. But they also ‘stole’ the name. Do you see the ‘ora’ (light) in ‘oracle’?
Viable answers to very important questions is compared to shining light on the darkness that is ofter associated with the opposite – stressful uncertainty. From here comes the connection between light and enlightening with is to core concept of education. This is why Yale University (and others, such as Indiana University) have chosen the Hebrew Urim ve•Tu•mim as its logo.