Eliyahu HaNavi And The Secrets Of The Highest Souls From Shamayim

Eliyahu HaNavi stands as a towering figure among the greatest prophets, greatly revered in every Jewish home, particularly during the Pesach Seder.

Previously discussed, Eliyahu HaNavi was one of the rare individuals who ascended to Gan Eden in his physical form, having purified it to an extraordinary degree. Famously known as the angelic presence at every Brit Milah and the herald of the ultimate redemption, Eliyahu HaNavi’s teachings offer powerful wisdom.

His spiritual stature, in some respects, mirrors that of Moshe Rabbenu. In Shaar HaYichudim, the Arizal teaches us that Moshe Rabbenu was able to bring his prophecy from Netzach and Hod of the front of Zeir Anpin, while Eliyahu HaNavi was able to draw it from the back part of the Hod. This symbolizes his role in overseeing the Gevurot of all Creation, while Moshe Rabbenu oversees the Chassadim (from the Kitvei Ari).

While many are familiar with the tales of Eliyahu HaNavi, our focus will be on the deeper Kabbalistic lessons these stories impart and how they can help us in our lives.

studying Eliyahu HaNavi's life

The Patach Eliyahu Prayer

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai received the Patach Eliyahu prayer from the famous prophet of earlier times. Patach Eliyahu”, which is part of the introduction to Tikunei Zohar 17a, delves into Kabbalistic concept of the Sephirot.

It begins with a prayer acknowledging God’s grace and continues to describe the divine attributes of Hashem he uses in Creation. The prayer then speaks about the ten Sephirot, which are Hashem’s emanations or attributes, used to interact with the world. These Sefirot are described metaphorically with human-like characteristics, such as Chesed (Loving-kindness) as the right arm and Gevurah (Might, severity) as the left arm.

“Patach Eliyahu” emphasizes the transcendence of Hashem, who is beyond human comprehension, yet interacts with the world through these Sephirot. The text also touches upon the flow of Divine Life-Force, similar to a soul within a body, vitalizing the mystic Tree of Life which everyone is acquainted with.

The prayer’s content serves as a reminder of Hashem’s attributes and the way He interacts with the world. It is seen as a means to open the heart and mind to higher spiritual realms, enhancing the prayer experience by bringing the worshiper into a mental and emotional state of deeper contemplation and humility.

DALL·E 2024 01 14 10.47.29 A group of ancient Jewish people in traditional attire from biblical times depicted realistically and colorfully. They are walking toward the Cave of

Here are some aspects of the Patach Eliyahu prayer and a summary:

  1. Hashem’s Transcendence and Immanence: The discourse opens with a profound acknowledgment of Hashem’s transcendence, being beyond all human thought and comprehension. It emphasizes that while the Creator is the ultimate source of all, He remains beyond numerical or conceptual categorization.
  2. The Sefirot and Divine Manifestation: The ten Sefirot are described as God’s means of interacting with both the hidden and revealed worlds. This concept is crucial in Kabbalah, illustrating how the infinite Hashem interfaces with the finite world. You can delve into how each Sefirah corresponds to a different aspect of divine interaction and is metaphorically related to parts of the human body.
  3. The Concept of Unity: “Patach Eliyahu” stresses the importance of viewing the Sefirot as a unified whole. This cannot be stressed enough. The separation of one Sefirah from the others is equated with separating from Hashem Himself (chas v’shalom), underlining the interconnectedness of all aspects of creation.
  4. The Flow of Divine Life-Force: The discourse likens the divine life-force to water that nourishes a tree, a metaphor for the sustenance and vitality that Hashem imparts to all creation.
  5. Hashem’s Unknowable Wisdom: It addresses the idea that Hashem’s wisdom and understanding are beyond human knowledge and unlike ours in every way. This aspect highlights the mystical nature of divine wisdom and justice which we can’t understand since it also involves gilgul (reincarnations).
  6. Role in Prayer and Meditation: “Patach Eliyahu” is also used in Jewish prayer by many communities and meditation practices, particularly in the context of opening one’s heart.

Finally, it concludes with a recognition of Hashem’s eternal blessedness. This discourse illustrates the intricate and mystical nature of Kabbalistic thought and the depth of Eliyahu HaNavi’s teachings​.

Many people also say this prayer before Shacharit or Mincha.

You can find more insights and the full text with commentary here.

Angels and the Radiance of Shekhina

In the scriptures, only a select few humans have been bestowed the title of ‘angel’.

The Arizal, in his work “Sha’ar HaGilgulim” (Gate of Reincarnations), elucidates that these unique individuals were recipients of what is termed ‘Zihara Ila’ah’ (Supreme Illumination) from the realm of Atzilut. This divine light elevated their physical form to a stature surpassing even that of angels.

Pinchas is a prime example of this phenomenon, as evidenced in the Book of Yehoshua. During his mission to scout Jericho alongside Calev, the text reveals a curious detail: Rachav the innkeeper concealed “him” – not “them” – from the pursuing soldiers. This suggests that Pinchas, possessing angelic attributes, had the ability to render himself invisible, thus requiring only his companion to be hidden.

Other illustrious figures such as Chizkiyah and Rav Yehuda from the Talmud also share this extraordinary distinction, along with a few others.

The Zohar further narrates the transformation of Pinchas, who zealously defended Hashem’s honor in the aftermath of Parshat Balak, into Eliyahu HaNavi. As we know, Pinchas killed Zimri when the Jewish people fell in sin to the “daughters of Midian”.

A significant aspect of Eliyahu HaNavi’s character was his intolerance for sin, notwithstanding Zimri’s justifications. Rabbi Chaim Vital writes that Zimri was not some fool merely satisfying his lust but had a very deep reasoning for what he did. Of course, in the end, he went against Moshe Rabbenu and had to be killed for profanity, as the sages say “HaBo’el Arami, Kanaim Pog’im Bo”.

Moreover, “Shaar HaGilgulim” (Gate of Reincarnation) expands on this, revealing a fascinating insight: Eliyahu HaNavi possessed two souls, one originating from the tribe of Gad and the other from Binyamin.

Confronting Idolatry: Spiritual Worlds’ Dynamics and Eliyahu HaNavi’s Role

In every spiritual framework, the concept of Mokhin (divine consciousness within the Sephirotic structure) and the forces of 5 Chassadim (benevolences) and 5 Gevurot (judgments) are pivotal. These Chassadim and Gevurot play a crucial role in fostering spiritual growth, with Chassadim predominantly influencing men and Gevurot focusing on the spiritual development of women. Moshe Rabbenu was recognized as the guardian of all Chassadim in Creation, whereas Eliyahu HaNavi held a similar guardianship over the Gevurot.

This background sheds light on the rigorous, sin-intolerant mindset of Pinchas and Eliyahu. Such an approach is vital for the maintenance and balance of Creation. Take, for instance, the episode where Pinchas slayed Zimri and Kozbi, the Midianite Princess, for their immoral act. Similarly, Eliyahu’s zealous adherence to Hashem’s covenant is noteworthy. The covenant, symbolized by Brit Milah, finds its roots in the Sephirah of Yesod. R’ Yosef Gikatilla, in his work “Shaarei Orah”, connects this idea to the concept of “kinah” (zealotry/jealousness), as seen in Pinchas’s actions and in the Sotah ritual (dealing with a suspected unfaithful wife), both instances being related to the sanctity of the Brit.

However, Eliyahu’s most significant contribution was his unwavering stance against idolatry. During his time, many Jews, though observant of Hashem’s commandments, were simultaneously indulging in foreign practices, thus defiling the land. Eliyahu HaNavi’s ultimatum — to follow Hashem if He is God, or Ba’al if he is the deity — culminated in the dramatic showdown at Mount Carmel.

There, he challenged 400 “prophets” of Ba’al to prove the power of their deity. Despite their desperate attempts, including self-mutilation, they failed. Now, it’s important to state: the prophets and the people who had been seduced to idol worship were not dumb. They knew how all these rituals worked in order to use impure spirits and achieve their ends.

Idol worship existed because it posed a serious seducing force against the pure Emunah of our sages and prophets, not because people couldn’t tell the difference or couldn’t do statistics to evaluate the idol’s rate of success.

In stark contrast, Eliyahu’s plea to Hashem was swiftly answered with a pillar of fire (symbolizing the Gevurot), which consumed not only his sacrifice but also the drenched stones beneath it.

This episode underscores the immense value Hashem places on those who ardently defend His honor, which I think could well do us some good in today’s setting, despite our “sensibilities”.

DALL·E 2024 01 31 22.08.25 A variation of the previous scene now depicting the prophet clothed in royal white shiny clothes praying in the desert but without angels. Instead

Wisdom from Eliyahu HaNavi: Balancing Emotions in Divine Service

Eliyahu HaNavi’s teachings remind us that life has a time and place for nearly everything.

However, certain traits, such as anger and haughtiness, are exceptions. These negative qualities must be eradicated entirely. On the other hand, many other traits can be channeled positively for divine service, a perspective shared by esteemed Rabbis such as the Rambam in his Yad HaChazakah and Rabbi Chaim Vital’s Shaarei Kedusha.

Both Pinchas and Eliyahu HaNavi exemplify the importance of zealously defending Hashem’s honor. Their actions teach us that such fervor must not stem from anger or personal gain. When one acts purely for Hashem’s glory, immense blessings are assured. While our actions may not transform us into angels, they certainly bring us closer to that spiritual ideal.

May Hashem guide us in our spiritual endeavors (avodah) and shower us with all the blessings enumerated in the Torah.

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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