From Insights and Inspirations
Published by the Ra’anana Community Kollel
Ra’anana Community Kollel
In the Footsteps of Eliyahu
Rabbi Dovid Horwitz
Although Bilaam was unable to defeat the Jewish people using his power of speech, he was able to inflict heavy damage by enticing the Jewish people to intermarry with the daughters of Moab. The tragedy climaxed when the prince of Shimon went and intermarried with a princess from Moab. Pinchas, the grandson of Aharon, avenged Hashem’s honor and killed both Zimri, the prince of Shimon, and his gentile wife, thereby ending the plague brought on by Hashem’s wrath. Although Pinchas’s act of murder seems terribly brutal, in essence it was one of the most peaceful acts recounted in the Torah, as it ended the “brutality” of the Divine punishment. It was because of this act that Hashem bestowed upon him the covenant of peace.
There are a number of Midrashim that claim that Pinchas never died, rather he went on to become Eliyahu the Navi who ascended to Heaven during his lifetime. The covenant of peace that was given to him by Hashem spared him from the darkness of death. Eliyahu continued the great work of Pinchas in the sense that he once again brought peace between Hashem and His people when He brought a revelation of G-d to the Jewish people on the top of Mt. Carmel. The Jewish people had been worshipping the Ba’alim, a notorious form of idol worship. Eliyahu, standing on Mt. Carmel, staged a showdown between Hashem and the Ba’alim. After the false prophets’ attempt to call down the power of Ba’al to consume their sacrafices failed, Eliyahu erected an alter and offered a sacrafice to Hashem. He called upon Hashem to reveal Himself and to consume the sacrafice in order to prove to the Jewish people that He and only He is the true G-d. Hashem hearkened to Eliyahu’s request and consumed the sacrafice in a fiery emblaze. Thereby peace and harmony were restored between Hashem and the Jews.
Because Pinchas’s/Eliyahu’s life was dedicated to restoring peace between us and our Father in heaven, he was given the ultimate task of heralding the coming of Moshiach, but not before bringing harmony between fathers and sons and sons and fathers, thereby restoring peace between Hashem and His people.
Tradition tells us that Eliyahu is present at every Brit Mila. He is even given his own chair!
Eliyahu is present at every Pesach seder. He is even poured his own cup.
Both Brit Mila and Leil Seder are two significant moments in a person’s life when a relationship is forged. At eight days, a Jewish boy enters into a relationship with Hashem and His people. On Leil Seder the Jewish people became connected to Hashem. A new level of closeness is created. Whenever there are opportunities to advance in our relationship with Hashem, we believe that Eliyahu is there, giving us the strength to succeed.
Eliyahu’s life was remarkable. His achievements were immeasurable.
We look forward to that great and awesome day, when Eliyahu will help us reenter a peaceful covenant with Hashem so that Moshiach will be able to come.