Home » Insights & Inspirations » Elijah’s Role on Yom Kippur

Elijah’s Role on Yom Kippur

Many are aware that that the Prophet Elijah is the symbol of our hope that we can make the world a better place! That is why we invite Elijah to join us at our Passover Seders and at the close of each Shabbat during Havdalah, our ceremony of separation from our weekly day of spiritual refreshment.
Fewer people, though, are familiar with the direct reference to the hope Elijah represents for all humanity at the close of Yom Kippur. I hope this brief essay helps to make that connection.
To all who observe this most sacred day of the Jewish year I wish a most meaningful period of introspection and to those who are able an easy fast.

Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives

It is for good reason that Jews close Yom Kippur — just before the blowing of the shofar with the triumphant cry from the wonderful passage (First Kings,chapter 19) in which Elijah vanquishes the prophets of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel:  “Adonai Hoo Ha Elohim!  The Eternal One (alone) is God!”  We chant it seven times before we hear the shofar (the ONLY time all day we hear the shofar on Yom Kippur) to signify the end of the most solemn holy day in our calendar.

Sadly, most Jews have no idea of this connection, but it is crucial!   King Ahab and (even more so) Queen Jezebel (a name known as a synonym for wickedness even for people who never read the Bible) had corrupted Israelite worship by setting up Ba’al and its prophets as their favored cultic practice.  They vowed to kill Elijah who was the champion of the one true…

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