Standing as one of the greatest prophets of all timeis Eliyahu HaNavi who’s known and cherished by every Jewish household, especially during the Seder of Pesach. As we spoke before, he was one of the few individuals that left this world alive and entered Gan Eden with his body, after refining it to the limit.
Most of us know Eliyahu HaNavi as the angel that attends every Brit Milah and the one who will announce the final redemption. However, there are many more teachings we can enjoy from this incredibly high prophet, who was in some aspects on par with Moshe Rabbenu.
We all know many of Eliyahu HaNavi’s stories, but as always, we will focus more on the secrets they teach and how they can improve our lives.
Angels and the Supreme Illumination
There were only a few individuals called angels throughout scripture. The Arizal explains in Sha’ar HaGilgulim (“Gate of Reincarnations”) that these individuals received what is called the Zihara Ila’ah (“Supreme Illumination”) from the world of Atzilut and their bodies literally turned to be higher than those of angels. Pinchas was one of them, and we find prooffor that from the Book of Yehoshua. When he was dispatched to Jericho with Calev to spy on it, it’s written that Rachav the innkeeper hid “him” from the scouting soldiers, but not “them”. This means she only needed to hide one of them, since the other, an angel, could just make himself invisible. Other examples include Chizkiyah and Rav Yehuda from the Talmudand many others.
Accoding to the Zohar, Pinchas who fought for Hashem’s honor in the dreadful episode after Parshat Balak became Eliyahu HaNavi. He was blessed with also becoming a Kohen, but most important to note is that he didn’t tolerate sin, even though Zimri had many justifications. Sha’ar HaGilgulim adds that there were actually 2 souls of Eliyahu HaNavi, one from the tribe of Gad and one from Binyamin.
We know that in every spiritual system there are Mokhin (divine consciousness in the Sephirotic array) and 5 Chassadim (benevolences) and 5 Gevurot (judgments). These Chassadim and Gevurot are what effectively cause us to grow spiritual, the first one causing men to grow spiritually and the second one causing women to grow spiritually. Moshe Rabbenu was sort of a supervisor over all Chassadim in Creation, while Eliyahu HaNavi had that same job over the Gevurot.
This explains a little about Pinchas and Eliyahu’sstrict mindset of not tolerating sins which is, in a certain measure, a requirement for Creation to be sustained. Like Pinchas, who killed Zimri for an immoral act with Kozbi the Midianite Princess, Eliyahu was also zealous for Hashem’s covenant. The covenant, symbolized by the Brit Milah, is rooted in the Sephirah of Yesod. R’ Yosef Gikatilla, based on that, teaches us in Sha’arei Orah, that the word for “kinah” (zealotry / jealousness) is used in connection with Pinchas and in the instructions for the Sotah procedure (the suspected wife), since both deal with issues of the covenant.
But perhaps the biggest contribution to Eliyahu was not tolerating idolatry at his time and fighting with all his might against it. Many Jews were serving Hashem and keeping Mitzvot, but were also engaging in foreign practices and polluting the land. Eliyahu HaNavi issued a stern warning that “if Hashem is God, then you should follow him, but if the Ba’al (the idol) is God, then you should follow him”. This led to the incident at Mount Carmel when he challenged 400 “prophets” of Ba’al to see who has the real God. It then happened that no matter how much the “prophets” tried to summon their god, even to the point of drawing out their own blood, they failed. When Eliyahu HaNavi called to Hashem, he was immediately answered with a pillar (yesod) of fire (a symbol of Gevurot), to consume not only the sacrifice he had made, but also its wet stones.
This shows how much Hashem values those who fight for His sake.
Teachings from Eliyahu HaNavi
There’s a time and place for pretty much everything in life. Except the two worst Middot, anger and haughtiness which must be eliminated completely, everything else can be used for divine service, according to many Rabbis including the Rambam and Rav Chaim Vital.
Pinchas and Eliyahu HaNavi both teach that we need to fight for Hashem’s honor and be jealous. Clearly one cannot do it out of anger or out of personal interest, but if he does for Hashem’s sake, then he will surely be blessed greatly. Even if we don’t turn into angels, we still come closer to that ideal.
May Hashem help us in our avodah and bless us with all the blessings from the Torah.
This was written in the merit of Yehudit simcha bas chaya yitta and Meir yisroel Ben yehudit. May HaShem bless them with complete emuna, simcha and success in all their endeavors speedily!
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