Elijah is considered a prophet by both Judaism and
Islam. He served as the inspiration for the birth of the
Carmelite Order (see related article). According to
tradition Elijah lived in a cave on Mt. Carmel during
the 9th century, in the reign of King Ahab.
In Judiaism, Elijah is a heroic figure. The people of
Israel started worshiping the idol Baal (a nature god),
at the insistence of Jezebel, King Ahab's wife. Elijah
stressed monotheism and said that there was no reality
except the God of Israel. As punishment for the worship
of Baal he prophesied a great drought, which lasted
three and a half years.
According to the story a contest of strength to
determine the true deity was held. A sacrificial bull
was placed on the altar and four hundred and fifty
prophets of Baal called on their god to deliver fire,
but to no avail. Then, Elijah's prayers are answered and
the bull is consumed by fire. The people take this as a
sign and slay the prophets of the false god. Rain begins
to fall, ending the drought, and Elijah flees Jezebel's
wrath. Later, Elijah is taken up to the heavens in a
chariot drawn by fiery horses.
In the Jewish faith Elijah's memory is preserved in a
variety of ways. At the Passover Seder a cup of wine is
placed on the table, and a door is left open to allow
Elijah the Prophet to enter and drink. At every Brit
(circumcision ceremony) a seat is set for Elijah. And
Jews sing of Elijah at the end of Shabbat, singing
"speedily, in our days...along with the Messiah, son of
David, to redeem us."
Elijah's Cave is located just a short walk from the
National Maritime Museum (the Clandestine Immigration
and Naval Museum is just below the National Maritime
Museum). The cave is also accessible via a steeply
inclined path, from the Carmelite Church on Stella Maris
Visiting hours: Sunday-Thursday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM,
Friday, 8:00 AM- 1:00 PM
Entry Fees: Free
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