Wednesday, July 11, 2007

God Was Not In The Fire:
the Rise, Fall, and Transformation
of Elijah the Prophet

based on part of my תנ"ך curriculum for my classes this past year
as well as a שיעור i gave שבועות night on the upper west side


Ahh’av ben ‘Omri was king of Northern Israel. He married Izevel bat Etba‘al, a Cana‘anite princess from Tzidon, and with her imported the worship of the Cana‘anite deities Ba‘al and Asheira to become the official state religion of the Israelian Kingdom.

And then Eiliyahu Hatishbi, from the inhabitants of Gil‘ad, said to Ahh’av, "As Yhvh, the God of Israel, before whom I have stood, lives — there will be no dew nor rain these years unless it be by my command!"
Who? What? Huh?

This is our first introduction to Eiliyahu Hanavi’, the Prophet Elijah.

He just shows up, suddenly, in mediās rēs, and we're supposed to know all about him. What's certain is that the other figures in the story know all about him — things that we have not yet been told — but we'll get to that.

We aren't told who his father or mother are. We aren't told what tribe he's from (although, if he's from the Gil‘ad, that would indicate either Gad or Menashe, maybe Leivi). We aren't even told that he's a prophet. And he certainly doesn't act like a prophet — there's no כה אמר ה, no "thus says God" — it's as if Eiliyahu is acting on his own initiative, his own power, swearing that as God lives there will be no precipitation on Israel; but not as God says, the way you expect prophets to express themselves. This punitive drought seems to be exclusively Eiliyahu's idea.

And so God tells Eiliyahu to go hide in Nahhal Kerit, where ravens brought him food and he drank water from the nahhal stream, until some time later real life intrudes on Elijah's miraculous haven — the creek dried up, for there was no rain in the land.

He denied water to the rest of the country.
Now he has to deal with the consequences of his action.

And so God tells him to get up and go to Tzarefat, a town of Tzidon, where God has commanded a widow to support him. And so Eiliyahu heads up to Tzarefat, where he encounters a widow, who he asks for water and bread.

She responds:
All I have is a handful of flour and a bit of oil in a container; and so here I am, gathering two pieces of wood so I can go home, make food for myself and my son, and then we will eat it, and die.
Elijah had so far only been slightly personally affected by the drought. His stream dried up. Boo hoo. God had already promised him that there would be someone to feed him. This widow and her son, on the other hand, had no such assurances. They had already been suffering in this drought — Eiliyahu's drought — for a year now, and had just enough food left for one meal. "We will eat it, and then we will die."

Lucky for them, though, God had sent Eiliyahu to them so that they could feed the prophet... and so that the prophet could feed them — so says Yhvh, God of Israel: the jar of flour will not end, and the container of oil will not run out, until the day when God gives rain...
Notice who's giving the rain.

Elijah took the rain away. But he bit off more than he could chew.

God is the one who promises to bring it back.

You might think that this would be the end of the story. But the widow's son gets sick until his soul did not remain. He was saved from death by starvation, but somehow Elijah's presence still had a negative impact on the son's survival. And so Eiliyahu prays to God, and performs something that looks like CPR, and the child rejoined the living.

Elijah's presence saved the widow and her son from starvation, but there are men, women and children just like them all across the country who are still starving and dying because of him. Maybe he needed some first-hand experience with death in order to understand what it is that he is doing to Israel and the neighboring lands.

Eiliyahu still, though, doesn't seem to get the message. It takes until the third year for God to tell him to go appear to King Ahh’av, so that God will give rain. Did Eiliyahu have the right to withhold rain, but not the power to release it? Or maybe he was given the power to bring back the rain, but it took a direct command from God to get him to actually do it...

And so, Eiliyahu encounters ‘Ovadyahu. Although he was an official in Ahh’av and Izevel's palace, ‘Ovadyahu was a loyal Yhvh-worshipper, who had saved 100 prophets of God by hiding and feeding them in two caves while Izevel's inquisition was trying to murderously root out Israelite religion to make way for her Cana‘anite faith. And so ‘Ovadyahu protests (too much?), freaking out that seeing Eiliyahu spells his death sentence. When he goes back to Ahh’av and tells the king that Elijah wants to talk, they'll kill the messenger. Because when Ahh’av goes out to meet with Eiliyahu, the prophet won't be there — he will have disappeared, because a wind of God will have picked him up and carried him off to some other place.
Where the heck does ‘Ovadyahu get this crazy idea from? A wind of God is going to scoop up Eiliyahu and carry him away from his enemies? Why would he expect such a thing?

Because it's happened before.

We started this story in mediās rēs. Many things have been going on that we haven't been told about. But ‘Ovadyahu knows, because he was there. He's part of the narrative. We are not. And Eiliyahu is getting more mysterious by the minute.

When Eiliyahu and Ahh’av finally meet, they trade insults, each calling the other one "troubler of Israel" — Eiliyahu blames Ahh’av for straying from God and following the Ba‘als, and Ahh’av seemingly blames Eiliyahu for (what else?) the drought that the country is suffering.

Eiliyahu and Ahh’av then set up a Final Showdown between the Prophet of God and the Prophets of Ba‘al. Elijah castigates the people for bouncing back and forth between gods instead of choosing one and sticking with it. The rules for the showdown are:
They will give us two bulls; [the prophets of Ba‘al] will choose one, cut it apart, and put it on the wood [on an altar] — but they will not light the sacrifice on fire; and I will similarly prepare the other bull, placing it on the wood without fire. And then you may call in the name of your god, and I will call in the name of Yhvh; and the god that will answer with fire, that one is God.

And so the Ba‘al team goes first, and after half the day goes by and even bouncing on their altar doesn't help get a response from Ba‘al, Eiliyahu starts teasing them.

Elijah then went and repaired the old Israelite altar up there on Har Karmel, and set up his own sacrifice. But then he poured water all over it.
Remember — they're all waiting for fire to come down from heaven, or otherwise miraculously appear as a sign of Godhood. So soaking the meat, wood, and stones would make the fire even more miraculous, in that it can burn even soaking wet objects. But that's not the only reason to pour jugs and jugs of water over the altar...

It was a drought, remember?! These people have been starving of hunger and thirst for three years already, and Eiliyahu is dumping water on the altar and on the ground around the altar when all the people want is water to drink?! Not very nice — and we've already seen how he teased the prophets of Ba‘al, so teasing the rest of the people isn't so surprising — but definitely makes an impression.

Eiliyahu prays, and then a fire of God falls on the altar and burns everything up. The people are duly impressed, and exclaim Yhvh is the God! Yhvh is the God!

Mission accomplished.

Then the killing begins. The people flock to Eiliyahu and follow his instructions, taking hold of the prophets of Ba‘al and dragging them down to Nahhal Qishon, where he slaughters them.

Even Ahh’av seems to be impressed or convinced, as he begins following Eiliyahu's instructions. Soon enough, the rains return, and Eiliyahu runs before Ahh’av all the way back to the palace at Yizra‘eil.

Mission accomplished?

Not quite.

Ahh’av told Izevel all about what happened.
Did he say "OMG, Izevel, we were wrong all along! Yhvh is the only true god! Let's go fire all those priests of Ba‘al and send them back to Phoenicia!"? Did he say "WTF, Izevel, that treasonous bastard Eiliyahu killed all of our prophets! We have to stop him before he starts a revolt!"?

It doesn't say.

We do, however, have Izevel's reaction.

So may the Gods do [to me] and more, if this time tomorrow you [Eiliyahu] are not [as dead] as any of [my prophets who you killed]!

And Elijah just runs away.

He leaves the country, heading down from Israel to Judah.

And then he walks out into the desert, sits down under a rotem bush, and asks to die. Eiliyahu was just at the high-point of his career — after beating the people over and over again with a long drought, calling fire down from heaven, and slaughtering the idolatrous prophets who had assumedly led Izevel's crusade against the prophets of God — and now, with one threat from the Queen, everything's lost. He just gives up. "It's too much now, God; take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." They failed to turn the Israelite Nation back to God, and so has Elijah. Just when he thought he won, he lost. And now he's gone suicidal.

So he goes to sleep under the rotem, and wakes up suddenly when an angel pokes him and says, "Get up and eat."

Eiliyahu looks, and notices that there's food now. The angel seems to have cut down part of the rotem, burned it into charcoal, and used the impressive heat of rotem-charcoal to cook some food. So Elijah eats the food, and drinks the water... and rolls right back over and goes back to sleep.
Fine, so he's feeling emo. He's feeling like he wants to die. He doesn't even have the will to make use of the rotem himself. But when a messenger of God comes, cooks him food and gives him water — he doesn't get the hint that survival must continue? Life must go on? Wake up, Eiliyahu!

So the angel pokes him again, and says, "Get up and eat... because you still have a long journey."

And Eiliyahu finally gets the hint. He got up, and ate, and drank, and walked on the strength of that eating for forty days and forty nights, all the way to Hhoreiv, the Mountain of God [=Sinai].
Notice, though, that the angel never told him where to go. Was he supposed to continue walking off alone into the wilderness? Or was he supposed to go back home to the Northern Kingdom, get out of his rut and get back to work?

Elijah arrives at the Mountain of God, and sure enough, God speaks to him.

God asks, "What are you doing here, Eiliyahu?"
You don't belong here. Go home. Wake up, Elijah, and save your dream!


Hey, it's a question. Maybe it's completely rhetorical, maybe only partially so, but the prophet thinks that he has a good answer:
I have shown extreme passion for Yhvh, God of the Battalions — for the Israelites have abandoned your contract! They destroyed your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword — I am the only one left, and now they want to take my life too!

Seems like a fair summary of what's happened so far; just when he thought he won, he lost. They (well, Izevel specifically) want to kill him. But what's this about being the only prophet left alive? Eiliyahu used that line back at the showdown on Har Karmel — but there he was talking to the assembled nation, and to King Ahh’av! They're not supposed to know about the 100 prophets saved and supported by ‘Ovadyahu... but this is God he's talking to now, the Creator of Worlds, Yhvh of the Battalions — how can he say such an obvious untruth to the Inspector of Minds?!

Eiliyahu isn't speaking from his logic, he's speaking from his emotions. He's depressed, suicidal even. He really feels like his failure is the failure of all the prophets who have ever lived. It wasn't worth it. I put forth so much effort, so much passion, so much zeal he says, but everything ended up back the way it started.

And so God gives him a pyrotechnic display even greater than the fire falling on Mount Karmel —
And there was a great and mighty wind, breaking mountains and shattering rocks before God — but God was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake — but God was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire — but God was not in the fire. And after the fire, qol demama daqa (the sound of thin silence).

And the sound of thin silence heralded God's voice.

So let me ask you again, I can imagine God saying, because God does ask again: What are you doing here, Eiliyahu?

And Eiliyahu answers the same answer — word for word, letter for letter, trop for trop!
I have shown extreme passion for Yhvh, God of the Battalions — for the Israelites have abandoned your contract! They destroyed your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword — I am the only one left, and now they want to take my life too!

Somehow, Eiliyahu didn't get the hint. God doesn't put on pyrotechnic shows for individual human beings just for kicks. There was a message there. Look at the supernatural phenomena, Elijah. There was a wind, a powerful wind, wreaking havoc and shattering stone. There was an earthquake, knocking objects off their bases. There was a fire, like the fire you called down from Heaven up on the Karmel. But I was not in those showy, violent, dangerous displays. I came with the sound of thin silence. Eiliyahu is a prophet of fire, of earthquakes, of hurricane winds. He put forth so much zeal, expended so much energy, burned so much passion — so much violent, burning passion — but God was not in the fire. God was not in the dry winds that blew in with the drought. God answered his prayer, and let him make unratified declarations of change in reality. But God was not in Eiliyahu's fire. God was in the soft sound of silence.

But Eiliyahu didn't get the hint. He didn't understand the message; or if he did (as suggested by R' Aryeh Klapper), he refused to accept it. And so he answered the same answer. Word for word, letter for letter, trop for trop.

And so God gave Elijah his final mission:
  1. annoint Hhaza’eil to be the new king of Aram
  2. annoint Yeihu’ ben Nimshi to be the new king of Israel, replacing the ‘Omri dynasty of Ahh’av's family
  3. annoint Elisha‘ ben Shafat from Aveil Mehhola to replace you as prophet

Eiliyahu, you're fired.

Our first encounter with Eiliyahu, he was declaring a drought. When we are first introduced to Elisha‘, on the other hand, instead of immediately running off to be a prophet with Elijah, he kisses his parents goodbye, and makes a feast for the people. Only then does he leave to be the prophet's apprentice. This is the kind of person Elisha‘ is.

The first thing we saw Eiliyahu do was withholding sustenance; the first thing we see Elisha‘ do is feeding the people.

However, this isn't the end of the story for Elijah. In the process of castigating the king for looking for answers by Ba‘al Zevuv, god of ‘Eqron, instead of God, he kills two separate squads of 50 soldiers each, by calling down fire from heaven. Even after he's been downsized, his anger has not ceased, and his arm is still outstretched.

And so, at the end of his career of violent, showy pyrotechnics, God gives Eiliyahu the big appropriate send-off, carrying him off in a storm heavenwards after a chariot of fire with horses of fire swept past, separating Elijah from his replacement. Just like before, a wind of God has picked Eiliyahu up and taken him away... but this time he won't be coming back (or will he?).

Eiliyahu killed people. He called down fire from heaven and droughts across the land.

Elisha‘'s style, on the other hand...

Elisha‘ cured an undrinkable spring; neutralized a poison stew; multiplied food for the people; and floated an iron axe-head out of the river. He even helped the general of the enemy nation of Aram to cure himself of tzara‘at!

Eiliyahu was a fireball prophet of zeal and retribution; Elisha‘ is a friendly neighborhood prophet of helpful miracles.

Elisha‘ even repeats a number of acts performed by his predecessor — he helps out a poor widow by miraculously multiplying her oil, and he resuscitates a dead child by performing something that looks like CPR. Of course, one of the major differences between the stories is that by Eiliyahu, the woman's lack of food was his fault due to the drought, whereas by Elisha‘, the woman in Shuneim was just poor.

Similarly, when Aramean soldiers try to kill or capture Elisha‘ for supernaturally revealing their classified troop movements to the Israelian forces, instead of fireballing them like Eiliyahu would, he has an army of firey chariots and horses smite them with temporary blindness, after which he leads them to Shomron, the capital of the North, where he convinces the king to give them food and water, and let them go home instead of killing the enemy soldiers.

There are a few times, however, where Elisha‘ loses his temper:
  1. Upon leaving the Jordan Valley after Eiliyahu was taken up, a crowd of "small youths" accost him, and call him "baldy" — seemingly either an insulting reference to his physical features, or a metaphorical insult, saying that he is nowheres near the prophet that Elijah, who was known for being hairy, was. In fact, Elisha‘ was promised that his witnessing his predecessor's showy pyrotechnical removal from this world was a sign that he will actually be twice the prophet that Eiliyahu was.
    So the "small youths" come out, throw insults at Elisha‘, and in response, he curses them in the name of God. And then two bears come out of the forest and rip apart the little brats.

  2. In the story about Na‘aman, the Aramean general, Elisha‘ refused to take any payment for his help. However, after Na‘aman left, Elisha‘'s servant Geihhazi snuck after him, told him that the prophet would accept a gift after all (on behalf of others), and undermined Elisha‘'s message and authority.
    When he returned, Elisha‘ rebuked him and cursed him that the tzara‘at that Na‘aman had just been cured from should infect Geihhazi and all his descendents.

  3. When Elisha‘ is about to die, he gets angry at the king for not performing a symbolic prophetic act (representing victory over Aram) emphatically enough, predicting that now Aram will not be defeated for long and remain a problem for Israel.

In the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 107b, it says:
Our rabbis taught:
Elisha‘ was ill three times —
once, when he sicced bears on babies;
once, when he pushed Geihhazi away with both hands;
and once, when he died.

Although only in the last case does seifer Melakhim explicitly say that Elisha‘ was sick, Hhazal state that in all three of these incidents, Elisha‘ was ill. He wasn't himself. In distinction to his usual, friendly neighborhood prophet role, he got angry. He hurt people. He didn't give them a chance to repent. He acted like Eiliyahu.

Now, think of all the folktales that we tell about Eiliyahu Hanavi’. They usually involve a poor family, or a person in some other precarious situation. A mysterious stranger shows up, and miracles start happening. The poor family has food for Shabbos. The lost hikers find their way to the road. And then the stranger who helped them so much disappears, and the only answer is well, it must have been Elijah!

These are the stories we tell about Eiliyahu. When you read Melakhim, he doesn't seem like the kind of prophet you would want to bump into in a dark alley at night. But in these stories he's so friendly, so giving, so... like Elisha‘.

God tried to teach Eiliyahu that God is not in the fire — that his violent, zealous pyrotechnics did more harm than good. And God had to fire Eiliyahu when he didn't get the message, replacing him with a kinder, gentler prophet — Elisha‘ — to turn the people's hearts back to God through love instead of fear. And then God took Eiliyahu away in a suitably flashy display of violent power.

And now we have all these folktales, from across the Jewish world, about mysterious miracle-working strangers — who could be none other than the Prophet Elijah — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and saving the poor from debt.

I think maybe by now he's learned his lesson.

behold, I will send to you Elijah the prophet
before the coming of the great and terrible day of God
and he will turn the heart of parents to children
and the heart of children to their parents
so that I will not come and smite the earth with destruction

(terey-‘asar mal’akhi 3:23-24)

24 Comments:

Blogger The back of the hill said...

And on the thrid day he had a temper tantrum, because the city had NOT been destroyed, and his fine calabash vine had withered.

And the almighty gave him a talking-to he would not soon forget.

Sorry, cross-associating here.

7/11/2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

heh. actually, speaking of Yonah.... i mentioned R' Klapper in the post, and i heard him speak about Yonah at the YCT Yemey ‘Iyun on Tanakh & Mahhshava this year.

7/11/2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger Natan said...

Whew, that was exhausting. Steg, you seriously need to publish this stuff. That was fantastic.

7/12/2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

Firstly, brilliant post.

I love your insight about the way in which we are introduced- we see Elijah withholding food and see Elisha giving it. That's beautiful.

Another insight of yours that I enjoyed was one you quickly passed over- Elijah has a negative affect upon the the boy simply by being there: "he was saved from death by starvation but..."

I disagree with one of your points, though. You write:

"And then he walks out into the desert, sits down under a rotem bush, and asks to die. Eiliyahu was just at the high-point of his career — after beating the people over and over again with a long drought, calling fire down from heaven, and slaughtering the idolatrous prophets who had assumedly led Izevel's crusade against the prophets of God — and now, with one threat from the Queen, everything's lost. He just gives up. "It's too much now, God; take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." They failed to turn the Israelite Nation back to God, and so has Elijah. Just when he thought he won, he lost. And now he's gone suicidal."

I disagree with your understanding of the stimulus. It's not "with one threat from Izevel" he's gone suicidal. Elijah sits beneath the rotem bush and begs for death because he feels like he has failed. I have always seen this episode as parallel to Jonah beneath the gourd. Both of them are men of passion, men who wish their nation to serve God. They feel defeated when God prevails upon them, forces them to His will, when their hopes for the nation are dashed. I mentioned this parallel in my post here. Izevel is not the true stimulus here...

I like this post very much. If you always write like this, I'll have to read you more often. This is what I like to write about. :-)

7/12/2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nachal Chris (נחל כרית)?

Sounds idolatrous.

7/12/2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

Oh, I see I was not clear enough, to clarify-

What bothered Elijah was not Jezebel's making a threat upon his life. What bothered him was that he had been unable to change her, or to change Ahab enough that Ahba would stop her. He wanted the people on a whole to be good and to do good. He had thought he had persuaded the king of the rightness of God with his demonstration the other evening. Apparently not, however. The king was still going to allow his wife to do as she liked, even if that meant killing the prophet.

That is what bothered Elijah so, what made him feel like a failure. That someone had the ability to completely ignore the demonstration of God he had just evidenced, to deliberately blind themselves to His existence just in order to kill him, to take his life. That is what he could not bear to see. These people were so undeserving of God and his goodness, of him, even! He had tried and tried but they refused to listen. Jezebel would ignore the signs and miracles that had happened right in front of her husband simply in order to "get" Elijah.

And Elijah is tired of it. He is so tired...he is so weary of this game, where even the best he can offer has no impact.

And so it is that he begs to die. Because he cannot bear to see this again, to have to witness time after time the way in which people blind themselves to the truth...and focus upon that which is petty and insignificant, upon him rather than God.

7/12/2007 11:01 AM  
Anonymous brother aharon said...

Very nice

7/12/2007 2:33 PM  
Blogger Noyam said...

This is great. Thanks for taking the time and effort to research and post this.

7/12/2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Natan:

publish? what is this 'publish'? i thought that's what the internet is for! ;-)

Chana:

thanks! positive feedback from you means a lot. unfortunately, it takes me a lot longer to write one of these long researched detailed posts than it seems to take you :-)

i wasn't saying that Izevel trying to kill him is the only reason he despairs, just that it's the last straw. it's the ultimate sign that everything went back to the way it was before, that all his effort and seeming success with the people and Ahh’av were wasted after all.

Anonymous:

heh. i should think in Ashkenazis more often... i was thinking "Nahhal Crete"

Brother and Noyam:

thanks!

7/12/2007 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

BTW, the I was the Anonymous who wrote "Nachal Chris". I don't remember why I posted it anonymously, though I remember having had some kind of reason.

7/12/2007 5:23 PM  
Blogger Yehu said...

Cool peirush, man. Actually I read something like your conclusion, I don't remember where, maybe you will. I think in relation to the "black" (or charred) person he once met and told him he's ugly - somewhere it says that the person wasn't physically charred but a criminal so Eliyohu spoke to him harshly and was rebuked. There it says that he was too much of a "shtreneger" his whole life. (Do you know such people?)

Only objection is to Yhvh - utter nonsense IMVHO - but, your blog.... Oh, yes and also you didn't link to me when you mentioned my name.... no class!

But since you broke your own rule of not discussing your stuff with us, may I suggest you write something on Yehu, Chezkiyohu and Yoshiyohu's failures. (note the similarity between Eliyohu & Yehu contrasted with Chezkiyohu & Joshioyhu's more Elisha-styles.

7/12/2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Nem said...

Very interesting.

I'm still curious about your final (implied) question: Why do our folktales talk about a visiting, helpful Eliyahu that is so different from his character in Melachim?

The quote from Malachi could be a source for our folklore, but then the question becomes: Why does Malachi use Eliyahu as a friendly, comforting person when that is at odds with his character from Melachim? It seems he would be happy to let G-d "smite the earth with destruction."

7/12/2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Nem:

i think it might just be the stories of Elisha‘. Eiliyahu gets fired in order to be replaced by Elisha‘, and then taken up to heaven in an abnormal manner that indicates some kind of continued existence beyond simply being dead in the afterlife. that therefore can imply the possibility of learning from his mistakes and from the successes of his successor.

7/12/2007 11:05 PM  
Anonymous brother aharon said...

I'd learned that the reason there's a seat for Eliyahu at a briss is not because he's a nice guy who we want visitting us, but as a way to show he was wrong when he said that the Jewish people had abandoned the covenant. His folkloric "travels" to every brit-milah are almost a pennance or a punishment.

7/13/2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Aharon:

i don't classify כסא שלאליהו as folklore; it's a ritual, and as you pointed out, it's a ritual *rebuke*. Eiliyahu of the folktales is a different figure (Eiliyahu-as-Elisha‘)

7/13/2007 8:00 AM  
Anonymous brother aharon said...

Setting up the chair is a ritual rebuke, true, but the story that Eliyahu comes and sits down at every briss (like the story that Eliyahu stop by every Pesach seder to drink some wine) is folklore. Hence, folkloric travels.

7/13/2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

I wonder why that last part of the verses in mal'akhi isn't sung with the rest of it... Is smiting not really an appropriate Shabbas topic?

7/14/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Now you deconstruct the kissei thing, too?! What's left of Elyenove then? Not this anyway.

But thanks, the rebuke idea is intriguing.

7/15/2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any writing/discussion anywhere that offers the idea that perhaps Elisha was Eliyahu's alter ego - if not physically, spiritually?

Rob

7/17/2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

see what i wrote here, about Eliyahu's appearance in the Rashbi narrative:
http://adderabbi.blogspot.com/2005/12/shabbat-33b-34a-part-vi-r-shimon-and.html

regarding Eliyahu's depression, i think it's because he realized that Izevel was right. She said that she'd come after him _tomorrow_. she understood that the people were really wowed by the pyrotechnics on Mt. Carmel, but she also understood that it wouldn't last, because it never does. that's what got him depressed.

it also plays right in to the message of the next series of events - the critique of Eliyahu's 'evangelical' method of disseminating the word of God.

7/17/2007 4:24 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Anonymous Rob:

well, i'm suggesting something like that by positing Eiliyahu and Elisha‘ as opposites; or do you mean 'alter ego' in a superhero sense? or a reincarnation sense?

7/20/2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

"And so God tells him to get up and go to Tzarefat, a town of Tzidon, where God has commanded a widow to support him."

Dude, the Tzorefattite woman was from France. Mechuttzef.

7/22/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger Yehu said...

"Dude, the Tzorefattite woman was from France."

No. New Jersey.

And Beth El and Lebanon are in PA.

7/23/2007 5:38 PM  
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12/09/2011 3:20 AM  

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