In this weeks haftarah for parshat Va'Yaira Elisha sends his second Gechazi to go with the woman whose son had just died. after which Gechazi could do nothing and had to call for Elisha.

Do any of the commentators write of why Elisha did not go himself in the 1st place?

Hebrew/English Source

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    Naftali, a belated welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this interesting question! I look forward to seeing you around. – Isaac Moses Nov 10 '11 at 17:19

Rashi gives the clue. In verse 29, Gechazi is instructed not to speak to anyone on the way. If Gechazi would answer their questions by saying that he was going to revive the dead this would not be to the honour of the mitzvah. But Gechazi did tell everyone his mission. The Radak says it clearly that because Gechazi wanted to cheapen the miracle, it did not work for him. (So Elisha had to do it himself.)

  • The question is not (I think), why did Gechazi fail, but rather why he was even sent in the first place. – Hod - Monica's Army Nov 10 '11 at 18:35
  • @HodofHod I think Avrohom is answering that Gechazi would've been able to do it himself, but because he "told everyone his mission" he was not able to. Which is why Elisha had to come and do it himself later. – yydl Nov 10 '11 at 18:50
  • @yydl yes, but why send Gechazi? – Naftali aka Neal Nov 10 '11 at 18:52
  • @Naftali I stand corrected. At first reading I thought the question was asking why Gechazi was first. Now I see it's why Gechazi was first. – yydl Nov 10 '11 at 18:58
  • @Naftali, if Gechazi can do it, why not send him and save the rabbi the trouble? – msh210 Nov 10 '11 at 19:29

The Malbim Melachim B, 4:29 deal with this. He explains that Elisha Hanavi thought the boy just fainted (because Hashem didn't tell him through prophecy), so he so called "loaded" Gechazi with the adequate powers and thought that Gechazi would be able to use Elsiha's "stick" and cure the boy. From pasuk 32, as explained by the Malbim, we see that Elisha realized the boy was dead only after he actually saw the boy.


From the Pesukim it seems as though Elisha' was going to travel with the mother to keep her calm and sent Geḥazi ahead to heal the boy because he could travel faster alone (hence, in part, the admonition not to speak with anyone; it would slow him down and take his focus off of his mission - the other part is likely that, regardless of speed, I would think, mental and spiritual intensity would be required of such a mission), and that if Geḥazi failed he would be only a short way behind him to take up the task.

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