Melachim Bet

We just can't stop learning! ...The Bekiut Nach class of 5766 in a quest to complete Nevi'im Rishonim

Monday, July 17, 2006


Ch.6 begins with yet another story of the Bnei Nevi'im in which someone gets into trouble, and then Elisha solves their problem via miraculous means. Elisha is very clearly the leader of the group. They plead with him to accompany them on a simple wood-cutting trip. When they suffer a simple problem of a lost axe, Elisha is the address to whom they turn automatically.

I will make two comments here.

1. The perek begins with the fact that the community is expanding. Their numbers have burgeoned to a degree that they need to build. One might suggest that they were growing as a community due to Elisha's leadership, however Chazal made a different connection. In the Gemara in Sanhedrin 107a, they connect the start of this Perek to the end of the last chapter in which Gechazi gets leprosy and is removed from his role as Elisha's assistant. The Gemara suggests that it was Gechazi's personality and actions that deterred potential Neviim from following Elisha. Now that Gechazi is gone, people are happy to join.

What was it about Gechazi that was so off-putting? If we take the last story as our cue, we can see that Gechazi saw Elisha as a means for personal prestige and material gain. He seems to have enjoyed the limelight that Elsiha offered him. Even year's later he is still telling the king "all the great things that Elisha did." ( in other words, he makes his name in society by selling the biography of Elisha on the Oprah Winfrey show!)

A person who is in the business of religion for his own ego or personal gain will eventually give a sour image to Torah and deter people from religion. Avodat Hashem needs people who are dedicated "Lishma."

2. The Navi loses his axe. He immediately cries out to Elisha for assistance in a state of deep distress. Is he so bothered by a lost axe? So it could be that the guy is very poor and has no money for a new one. But apparently it is worse than that: "It is borrowed" He is concerned that he will not be able to return a borrowed object. It is not a FINANCIAL concern but rather a MORAL one that makes him yelp. How many times do we find ourselves agitated more by potential monetary loss way more than by moral infidelity? Food for thought!!