God in the Silence

Elijah learns that God is found in the still, small voice, not the impressive special effects

BY: Dini Lewittes

 
Each week, after the Torah portion is read in synagogue, a section of the Prophets are chanted as well. The following commentary refers to this week's Prophets reading, I Kings 18:46-19:21. It is reprinted from Derekh CLAL: The Webzine of Jewish Possibilities .



Elijah the Prophet had just staged one of the greatest public demonstrations of the unique power of the God of Israel. Before a multitude of Israelites, he challenged the worshippers of Ba'al to a divine showdown. With the drama and special effects befitting a Steven Spielberg movie, God reveals Himself to all of those standing on Mount Carmel, leaving no doubt as to the truth of His existence and the authenticity of His prophet, Elijah.

And yet, as soon as the production so successfully directed by Elijah is over, Elijah is running for his life. Jezebel, the evil queen of Israel, is intent on killing Elijah for the destruction of the Ba'al cult that she had established among the Jews. Elijah flees to the wilderness where, overcome with depression, he prays to God to end his life.

In Elijah's mind, he had failed; his life was not worth living. He had done what he thought he could do to communicate the truth of God's covenant. He had been zealous for the Lord and all it got him was a death sentence.

God instructs him to go to Mount Sinai and to stand in the same place where Moses, centuries earlier, had received the great revelation from God:

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