Kenneth Cohen

Showdown at Mount Carmel

The parallel Haftarah to the sin of the Golden Calf, was the confrontation of Eliyahu Hanavi and the 450 false prophets of Baal.

At that time, there were many Jews who were worshipping both Baal and Hashem. Eliyahu challenged them to a showdown at Mount Carmel. He spoke to the Jewish nation with a famous and impassioned speech. He asked the people how long they would be on both sides of the fence. He said that they needed to make up their minds. If Hashem is the true G-d, they needed to worship Him. If it’s Baal, then worship Baal.

He managed to perform a tremendous miracle by having a fire come from the Heavens that consumed only his sacrifice, that was saturated with water. The people acknowledged the miracle, and shouted, ה׳ הוא האלוקים, ה׳ הוא האלוקים, that our G-d is the only true G-d.

Often we see how it is difficult for people to make the correct transition in their lives. They may be torn between their attachment to their secular lives, and they are unable to detach from it. They want to come over to the side of holiness and spirituality, but they need a little push. There is great relief when the doubts are removed, and they realize what is important.

The story of Eliyahu Hanavi and the false prophets of Baal is encouraging. It is a sign that when we complete our current battle with Hamas, there will also be an acknowledgement the G-d is the only true G-d. With Hashem’s help, that day is coming soon.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at