Lessons from Eliyahu Hanavi

There are two other concepts learned from the incident of Eliyahu Hanavi and the prophets of Baal.

The first is the concept of הוראת שעה. This refers to a situation where the prophet is entitled to make a one time decision that is contrary to Jewish law. In Eliyahu’s case, he ruled that because of the seriousness of the situation, it would be allowed to offer a sacrifice on an alter outside of the Beit Hamikdash.

The other idea learned from that incident is that it is permissible to mock and belittle idol worshippers. We are generally commanded to be respectful of all people in society. However, idol worshippers need to be mocked to expose the falsehood of their ways. Eliyahu asked the prophets of Baal whether their god was unable to bring down a heavenly fire because he was busy relieving himself. They also made a point of hiring the most grouchy judges to be sure they are convicted. These judges were either old or unable to have children.