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It is written in 1 Kings Chapter 19 that Elijah went to mount Horeb and was shown three signs: wind, earthquake, and fire.

8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meal forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him: 'What doest thou here, Elijah?'
10 And he said: 'I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'
11 And He said: 'Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.' And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
12 and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said: 'What doest thou here, Elijah?'
14 And he said: 'I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'

What is the meaning of these signs that God showed to Elijah?

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My compeletely unsourced understanding which is based entirely on hearsay is that Elijah was excessively zealous, acting as the wind, the earthquake , and the fire, which was misrepresenting the true interaction of Gd with the people, which was faaaaar gentler, as evidenced by the soft voice. Elijah was unwilling or unable to change his approach, which is why he was 'fired', and replaced him with Elisha. –  Baby Seal Mar 17 '14 at 3:01
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I sometimes find myself wondering whether God was not in the wind/earthquake/fire, or if Eliyahu couldn't perceive him being in them). It seems like that would affect how we understand what followed. –  Monica Cellio 2 days ago
    
@Baby Seal That's a very nice pshat. Reb Dovid Feinstein said in a drasha that chazzal said Eliyahu was in fact Pinchas because it was hard enough to accept there was one zealot, but two?!?! Must be it was the same person:) –  user6591 2 days ago

1 Answer 1

For Eliyahu was so depressed and torn down mentally by his fellow brethren YisraELites being idol worshipers of baal and asherah ,remember right beforehand Eliyahu was on HarCarmel with all of Yisrael and 450 prophets of baal and 400 prophets of asherah and had to call upon Lord God of Yisrael to send fire to show who the One True Living God Is!!!!!!!then yezevel wanted his life,so he ran and went far into the Wilderness under a tree and sat down so depressed from everything his fellow brethren were doing not heeding the word of the Lord God of Yirael that he wanted to die,it was that heavy for him. Then after he ate his cake and drank his jar of water he went on the journey to Horev and slept the night in a cave.Then he was awakened by the Lord and went up onto the mountain before the Lord with the Lord beforehand as he awoke from the cave asking eliyahu " why are you here?",so he tells the Lord about his zealousness for The Lord God Of Yisrael and his Mitzvah and how the brethren of Yisrael were worshiping idols, tearing down alters , and killing prophets. Now in the midst of all this chaos in eliyahu's life now the Lord wanted to show eliyahu that no matter how chaotic it was around him in life that the Lord was gentle and shows lovingkindness to HIS servants, that is why the Lord was nearby to eliyau, then the fierce wind came by with no Lord behind, then the earthquake came with no Lord behind, then the fire came with no Lord behind, finally a still small Voice came and eliyahu recognized that this would have to be the humble gentleness of The Lord God Of Yisrael, so he wrapped himself with his mantle and went before the Lord not ever attempting to open his eyes because the Glory of The Lord is far to Amazing to try to see.but the Lord asked him again why he was there and eliyahu told him again like before about how everyone was forsaking HIS Holy Covenant!!!!!!!then the Lord commanded eliyahu to anoint a few fellow brethren. But in the end of this message is that the Lord wanted to show HIS servant eliyahu that no matter how chaotic it is in this life , The Lord God of Yisrael is Gentle and Compassionate to HIS servants and will Alone lift one up with HIS strength in the midst of "the Wicked and Unbelieving!!!!!!! The Lord God of Yisrael always carries HIS children when they are drained from all the unrighteousness around them, for the Lord's Strength is ENOUGH ALONE!!!!!!!

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