Chapter 2: The spectacular death of Eliyahu Hanavi
- Eliyahu tries three times to part from his student Elisha so he can return to heaven:
- The following occurred when Hashem ascended Eliyahu up to heaven in a whirlwind:
- The first attempt to part from Elisha: Eliyahu and Elisha had returned from Gilgal. Eliyahu told Elisha that he must part from him, as Hashem had sent for him to go to Beth Eil. However, Elisha refused to leave him, and replied to Eliyahu by taking an oath in the name of Hashem and on the life of Eliyahu, that he will not leave him. So, they both went down to Beth Eil.
- Prophet students warn Elisha of Eliyahu’s imminent demise: The students of the prophets who were in Beth Eil came out to Elisha and warned him that Hashem had planned to take Eliyahu, his master, from him on this day. Elisha replied that he is well aware of this plan and that they should be quiet.
- The second attempt: Eliyahu again told Elisha [while they were in Beth Eil] that he must part from him, as Hashem had sent for him to go to Yericho. However, Elisha refused to leave him, and replied to Eliyahu by taking an oath in the name of Hashem and on the life of Eliyahu, that he will not leave him. So, they both went down to Yericho.
- Prophet students warn Elisha of Eliyahu’s imminent demise: The students of the prophets who were in Yericho came out to Elisha and warned him that Hashem had planned to take Eliyahu, his master, from him on this day. Elisha replied that he is well aware of this plan and that they should be quiet.
- The third attempt: Eliyahu again told Elisha [while they were in Yericho] that he must part from him, as Hashem had sent for him to go to the Jordon. However, Elisha refused to leave him, and replied to Eliyahu by taking an oath in the name of Hashem and on the life of Eliyahu, that he will not leave him. So, they both went down to the Jordon.
- Eliyahu splits the Jordon river, and Elisha asks to be given double his spirit:
- Fifty prophet students stand by to witness the event: There were fifty disciples of the prophets who went and stood opposite them [i.e. Eliyahu and Elisha] from a distance, as they both [i.e. Eliyahu and Elisha] stood at the Jordan.
- Eliyahu splits the Jordon river: Eliyahu took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water with it. This caused the river to divide to two different sides, hence creating a dry path of land on the riverbed, which they used to cross.
- Eliyahu grants Elisha a final request: When they crossed the river, Eliyahu asked Elisha if there is anything that he would like to request from him before he is taken away from him. Elisha replied that he would like to receive a double portion of the spirit of Eliyahu. Eliyahu responded that this is a difficult request [as how can he given something that he himself does not have, as he only contains one portion of himself]. Nonetheless, he told Elisha that if he merits to sees him being taken [to heaven] then his request shall be granted to receive a double portion of his spirit, and if not, then it will not be granted. [Indeed, it was eventually granted, as we see that he was able to revive two dead men.]
- Eliyahu goes up to heaven:
- While they were walking and talking, a fiery chariot with fiery horses came and separated them from each other, and Eliyahu then ascended to heaven in a whirlwind.
- Elisha bemoans the ascent of Eliyahu to heaven: When Elisha saw his master going to the heavens, he cried and proclaimed, “my father [i.e. my teacher], my father, the chariots of Israel and their riders!” After saying this, he no longer saw them
- Elisha performs Keria on his garments: When Elisha saw his master disappear into the heavens he took hold of his garments and tore them into two pieces. [From this episode we learn that a student is obligated to perform Keriah upon learning of his Rebbe’s death.]
- Elisha splits the Jordon River using the cloak of Eliyahu:
- Elisha takes the mantle of Eliyahu and splits the Jordan River to return home: Elisha picked up Eliyahu’s mantle which had fallen from him in his ascent to heaven, and Elisha returned back from where he came and stood on the bank of the Jordan River. He then took Eliyahu’s mantle that had fallen from him, and used it to strike at the water of the river. While doing so Elisha exclaimed, “Where is Hashem, the God of Eliyahu [who promised me that I will have twice the spirit of Eliyahu if I witness his ascent, and therefore I should likewise be able to split the river as he did]?” So, he too struck the water and it divided on this side and on that side, and Elisha crossed. [This was considered a double miracle in comparison to the splitting of Eliyahu, being that he was alone when he split it, while when Eliyahu originally split he was together with Elisha.]
- The students of the prophets accept Elisha as their new leader: The disciples of the prophets who were in Yericho witnessed what Elisha had done from a distance [i.e. that he split the river]. They exclaimed that the spirit of Eliyahu has rested on Elisha. The disciples came towards Elisha and prostrated themselves to the ground in front of him.
- The prophets search for Eliyahu:
- The disciples of the prophets press upon Elisha to allow them to search for Eliahu until he finally agrees: The disciples of the prophets proposed to Elisha that they go search for his master Eliyahu. They told him that they are a total of 50 men who are as strong as soldiers and that they can help him look for him as “perhaps a wind from Hashem has carried Eliyahu and thrown him on one of the mountains or in one of the valleys.” However, Elisha declined the offer and said that they should not search for him.
- They, however, continued to press upon Elisha that he agree to the search, until they made him feel ashamed for refusing it [as it made him seem as if he’s not interested in seeing his master any longer, as he desires to keep the mantle of leadership that he now received being that his master disappear ]. And so he finally agreed with them to allow them to go search for his master Eliyahu.
- The search returns empty-handed: So, they sent fifty men to go search for him, and they searched for three days but did not find him. When they returned from their empty-handed search, they found that Elisha was staying in in Yericho. When they approached him, he chastised them for having gone, telling them that he told them that they should not go as they would not find him.
- Elisha sweetens the bitter waters:
- Elisha is informed that the water is polluted and is causing death: The people of the city [of Jericho] told Elisha that although the city is a good place to live in, as he can see, the water is polluted and is causing people to die. [They thus asked him to help solve the problem and fix the pollution issue that they were facing with the city water.] So, Elisha instructed the townspeople to bring him a new jug which contains salt in it [which he will use to sweeten the waters].
- Elisha purifies the water: After they brought the jug with salt to Elisha he then went to the source of the water and threw the salt into it. He then exclaimed, “So said Hashem: I have cured these waters and therefore there will no longer be death and bereavement that comes from there from now on.” Indeed, from that day and onward, the water became cured, as Elisha had spoken. [This was a double miracle, as salt is bitter and destroys the water, and in this case, not only did it not destroy it but it actually cured it.]
- Elisha curses the lads who mock him and they die:
- A group of lads poke fun at Elisha: Elisha traveled from Jericho to the city of Bet Eil. While he was traveling on the road a number of young lads [who were empty of mitzvah fulfillment] came out of the city and poked fun at him, calling him bald and saying, “Go away, baldy; go away, baldy!” [They were upset that he had purified the polluted waters of Jericho, as they had made income through providing pure water to the townspeople, and now that their water was purified, they lost their source of income.]
- Elisha curses the lads: Elisha turned around and saw the lads who insulted him [that no good will come out of them or their descendants], and he cursed them in the name of G-d.
- Two beers devour 42 lads: After this occurred, two female beers came out of the forest and tore apart forty-two lads from amongst the group.
- Elisha travels to Mount Carmel and from there to Samaria:
- Elisha traveled from the city of Beit Eil to Mt. Carmel, and from there he returned to the city of Shomron.
 Rashi 2:10
 Radak 2:8
 Rashi 2:11
 Radak 11:12
 See Rashi 2:12
 Rashi 2:12
 Rashi 2:17
 Rashi 2:21
 Rashi 2:23
 Rashi 2:23; Sotah 46b
 Rashi 2:24; Sotah 46b