A very short musing this week. In our haftarah, Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet) challenges the priests of Ba’al to prove which G”d is really G”d. Jezebel had convinced her husband King Ahab to allow her religion to be practiced among the Israelites, and Eliyahu was going to prove to the Israelites, once and for all, that Baal was no G”d. Eliyahu wins, convincingly. It’s a pretty impressive display, too. The Priests of Baal fail miserably, but not G”d, Eliyahu lays it on thick, putting roadblocks in G”d’s way (i.e.having all the wood on the altar drenched in water. This giv es G”d the opportunity to double down and perform an evenb moreimpressive feat.
Guess what? It didn’t matter. Elijah still spent the rest of his life (well, we’re not really sure it ever ended, are we?) trying to convince the Israelites and their leaders to live by G”d’s commandments.
This haftarah is a classic example of theatrical razzle-dazzle. The reader is blinded with the miracle, and fails to realize that, in the end, it didn’t really have much effect upon the intended targets. Eliyahu and Jonah must had experienced some similar feelings at some point.
Nice try, rabbis that assembled the haftarot. Pair this story with the story of the golden calf. Taken out of the rest of its context, it works great. Taken in context, it’s weak tea.
There is much to admire in Eliyahu and how he fulfilled his role as a Prophet of G”d. He really was the ideal gadflyish, pesky prophet, In the end, however, all his efforts produced little result. Perhaps that’s why we keep waiting around for him to come and finish things up.
I told you it was a short musing.
© 2016 by Adrian A, Durlester
Other Musing on this parasha:
Ki Tisa 5775 – Shabbat Is A Verb II
Ki Tissa 5774 – Faith Amnesia (and Anger Management)
Ki Tissa/Shabbat Parah 5773 – Fortune and Men’s Eyes (Redux and Revised)
Ki Tisa 5772 – Other G”d?
Ki Tisa 5771 – Still Waiting for the Fire
Ki Tisa 5770 – A Fickle Pickle
Ki Tisa 5768-Not So Easy? Not So Hard!
Ki Tisa/Shabbat Parah 5767-New Hearts and New Spirits
Ki Tisa/Shabbat Parah 5766-Fortune and Men’s Eyes
Ki Tisa 5765-Re-Souling Ourselves
Ki Tisa 5764-A Musing on Power Vacuums
Ki Tisa 5763-Shabbat is a Verb
Ki Tisa 5762-Your Turn
Ki Tisa 5760-Anger Management
Ki Tisa 5761-The Lesson Plan