Elijah the Prophet: The Man Who Never Died
with Daniel Matt
Wednesdays, 7 – 8:30pm
February 12, 19, 26
Price for the 3-class series
Chochmat Members $65 | General Public $85
In this course, we will explore the unique figure of Elijah. We will begin by tracing his Biblical career: how he confronts King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, defeats the prophets of Baal, falls into a deep depression, receives a revelation at Mount Horeb, and finally ascends to heaven in a chariot of fire. Based on his dramatic disappearance, a tradition developed that Elijah never died. Someday, he will return to announce the coming of the Messiah.
Meanwhile, he doesn’t just wait in heaven. According to rabbinic literature, he visits earth frequently – saving those in danger, healing the sick, helping the needy, exploring Torah with the Sages, conveying discussions in the Heavenly Academy, and revealing what God says or feels. His essential traits are graciousness and generosity. Somehow this Biblical zealot has mellowed, turning into a master of compassion, a Jewish bodhisattva.
Participants are encouraged to read ahead of time the Biblical saga of Elijah in 1 Kings, chapters 17–19 and 21; and 2 Kings, chapters 1–2:18
Daniel Matt is one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He taught at the Graduate Theological Union for twenty years. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into seven languages) and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality.
Recently Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar, the masterpiece of Jewish mysticism. This work, consisting of nine volumes was published by Stanford University Press and is entitled The Zohar: Pritzker Edition. This annotated translation has been hailed as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”