This week’s haftorah echoes some of the themes found in the parshah of Ki Tissa. Its setting is in Northern Israel at a time after the 12 Tribes had been split into two kingdoms.
What intrigues me in the reading is when Elijah strongly opposes the beliefs of Ahab and Jezebel, the king and queen of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. A foreign wife from the north, Jezebel brought idols into the land of Israel, causing many Israelites to leave Judaism and turn to the worship of the chief idol of Baal.
Jezebel became enraged when she heard that Elijah, a very important prophet of the Lord, was not worshipping the idols and that he stayed true to his belief in the one and only God. She was so furious she went on a rampage and started killing the prophets. Elijah took 100 of them and hid them in a cave, providing them with food, drink and safety.
Many rabbis say that when Elijah acted with such valor, he resembled Moses. As a true leader, Elijah protected the prophets. Moses, similarly, exhibited true leadership by speaking up on behalf of his people in Egypt and, as we read in this week’s parshah, in their defense after the sin of the golden calf.
I feel that Elijah’s firm belief in God took much conviction. He knew that if he defied the king and queen’s religious practices, one of them would become infuriated and want him dead. But even knowing this, Elijah stayed true to God and would not become an idol worshipper.
The lesson here is that even in the worst of times, we can be optimistic. We should not lose faith and hope, even when everything seems to be going wrong. Just like Elijah, who kept his faith and belief in God although many of the Israelites did not, I hope that my faith and belief will help me throughout my life.
For my bar mitzvah project a few weeks ago, I organized a three-on-three basketball tournament fundraiser to benefit the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. As one person, Elijah protected 100 people from the king and queen and their army; the IDF has to protect the small State of Israel against much larger bordering countries. The FIDF’s motto is: Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.
I wanted to do something to help “look after them.”
As a result of putting together this fundraiser I learned that by giving some of my time to organize the tournament and raise money I was able to help the Israeli soldiers who look after Israel. If one simply donates a small amount of time, they can help others. By doing so, this person is fulfilling one of the most essential and significant mitzvot in the Jewish religion.
Noah Abrams is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.