Zev Levi

A Prophetic Bus Ride Reprieve

Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston

I wonder if Eliyahu the prophet felt this good when he got fired.

I wonder if, when he didn’t hear God in the wind or the earthquake or the fire on top of that mountain, he also got buzzed on cans of Gin and Tonic on Egged’s 72 bus, and listened to “Cosby Sweater” by the Hilltop Hoods.
I mean, that’s not how the scene is written in The Book. The scene painted by The Author. The Boss. The One who did the firing. But it feels…
Continuing their eternal tradition, this stiff-necked people keep running headlong in the wrong direction. A nation convinced that, not by His spirit but by might and power, will they take their place as the ‘ubermenschen.’ The real ‘baalei habayit.’ Emphasis on Baal. With hilltop hoodlums. A people named with the directive to struggle with Him to be moral, and to struggle with humanity to be divine. To do the right thing. And as one person with one heart, the people say, “it is not in heaven,” and turn thugs into kings, to be just like other nations. They can’t claim ignorance anymore.
I tried. I tried my best to show my people the ancient warnings drowned out by kiddish club whiskey. But the votes are in. So I guess I’m done. It’s now someone else’s turn to show them the prophets’ words, engraved into the ancient walls: that we lose our land when we focus on power.
And I get to enjoy this tipsy bus ride with a view of the mountain of God, Chorev.
I wonder if Eliyahu felt this unburdened.
Oh wait. What if he wasn’t fired? What if he quit? What if he learned that there are too many big fish in the sea to ask to be thrown to the waves? That this job pulls you back in, even from death? What if Eliyahu realised that the way out was just seeing this cruel, stupid, egotistical people as a You and not an Us?
So Eliyahu refused to hear how their mess was his fault. His responsibility. And he got to go home. How refreshing.
Of course, no one knows who Eliyahu’s kids were. Sure, there are circumcision chairs and Passover wine glasses, but we know he’s not coming. Those are the traditions of a generation too late to make things right. It seems that quitting is forever. Quitting is for generations. I don’t want that…
So… suddenly I feel a little less tipsy.
And before God again expels us from our homeland for placing our ego over our instructions, I ask this in my stillest, smallest voice:
What are we doing here?
About the Author
Zev Levi is an Australian oleh cataloging how his opinions on local issues change and why.
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