Shiur #51: Chorev Part 3: The Double Revelation of God's Angel to Eliyahu (5-8) (continued)
The Eliyahu Narratives
Yeshivat Har Etzion
Shiur #51: Chorev
Part 3: The Double Revelation of God's Angel to Eliyahu (5-8) (continued)
By Rav Elchanan Samet
3. Eliyahu in the Footsteps of Moshe
We cannot ignore the deliberate manner in which our narrative draws a clear parallel between Eliyahu and Moshe. Let us examine the similarities, in the order in which they appear in our chapter:
A. Even before we find out Eliyahu's ultimate destination in the wilderness, we already sense the parallel between the two prophets: (8) " and he went on the strength of that eating for forty days and forty nights."
Concerning Moshe we read: "He was there with God for forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread nor did he drink water." (Shemot 34:28)
B. The actual arrival at
"He came to the
up to the
The name of
this mountain Chorev appears seventeen times in Tanakh, but only in
the above two instances is the additional appellation, "the
C. Immediately thereafter, we are told concerning Eliyahu:
(9) "He came there to the cave, and he slept over there."
This verse is
reminiscent of verses 4-
"He came and dwelled under a certain broom tree and he lay down and he slept under a certain broom tree."
specifically the similarity between the two sources that serves to emphasize
the difference between them. At
"God said: Behold, there is place by Me; you can stand upon the rock. And it shall be, when My Glory passes over, that I shall place you in a cleft of the rock, and I shall cover you with My hand until I have passed over. And I shall remove My hand and you shall see the back of Me; but My face shall not be seen."
There, in the cleft of the rock, God was revealed to Moshe in His goodness, with the thirteen traits of mercy. Indeed, the word "nikra" (which we translate here as "cleft") means a "me'ara" - cave, as Onkelos translates it, and as arises from the comparison of two verses found close to each other in chapter 2 of Yishayahu:
(19) "They shall come into the CAVES (me'arot) of rocks and into the tunnels of the earth for fear of God and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth
(21) To come into THE CLEFTS (nikrot) of rocks and into the crevices of boulders for fear of God and for the glory of His majesty when He arises to shake the earth."
D. Adopting this identification, we find further comparisons between the two sources, pertaining to the revelations experienced by these two prophets at this cave.
1. Moshe is told, "You can stand upon the rock" (33:21), and further on we read, "You shall stand with Me there, at the top of the mountain" (34:2); Eliyahu is told, "Go out and stand on the mountain before God" (11).
2. Moshe is told, "And it shall be, when My glory passes over" (33:22), while Eliyahu is told, "Behold, God is passing over" (11).
3. Moshe is told, "I shall place My hand upon you until I have passed over" (Ibid.), and the first time he comes to Chorev we are told, "Moshe hid his face for he feared to look at the Lord" (Shemot 3:6); while concerning Eliyahu we read; "And it was, when Eliyahu heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle" (13).
then, that all of Moshe's ascents to
In the Midrash Eliyahu Zuta (chapter 8), quoted in the previous shiur, we find a sharp expression describing Eliyahu being led to Mount Chorev, hinting back to the argument between God and Eliyahu concerning the drought an argument which, according to the Midrash, continues into our chapter:
that [that God sent Eliyahu to Achav so as to bring the drought to an end], but
God then PUSHED ELIYAHU to the place where the forefathers of
use of the term "forefathers" (avot), the Midrash would appear
to be referring to Moshe's request for mercy for the nation at
purpose of bringing Eliyahu to
"And now, if You will forgive their sin and it not, please erase me from Your book which You have written."
All of this is
reminiscent of Eliyahu's request, "Take my life" but in the
opposite direction: Moshe speaks as he does out of devotion to
This we find:
the forefathers and the prophets were devoted to
Eliyahu, in contrast, is noted by the Mekhilta as having the opposite intention:
up for the honor of the Father (God), rather than for the honor of the son (
Translated by Kaeren Fish