[Avodah] Can Eliyahu Hanavi decide halachic questions?

Lisa Liel lisa at starways.net
Mon Jan 21 13:03:29 PST 2013

On 1/21/2013 6:57 AM, Marty Bluke wrote:
> Recently in Daf Yomi (Shabbos 108a) the Gemara discussed whether 
> Tefillin can be written on the skin of a Tahor fish. Rav Nachman bar 
> Yitzchak says if Eliyahu will come and tell us that it is good then it 
> is kosher. The Gemara asks so what if Eliyahu tells us, Rashi explains 
> that Heter v'isur are not decided by Eliyahu because lo bashamayim 
> hee, in other words Eliyahu Hanavi cannot answer any halachic questions.
> How does this Gemara fit in with all of the places where we say that 
> Eliyahu Hanavi is going to answer our halachic questions, etc.?

Well, first off, Teiku doesn't have anything to do with Eliyahu.  It's 
Aramaic for "let it stand".  Teikum, properly, but that final mem often 
falls off.

I once heard from a rav in Israel that Eliyahu couldn't answer our 
halakhic questions, because if he did, we'd have to kill him as a navi 
sheker.  But that's if he uses nevua to answer them, or claims that he's 
doing so.  That's not the only option, though.  Eliyahu is a musmach.  
According to those who hold you can't renew smicha with a majority of 
the rabbis in Eretz Yisrael agreeing on someone, he's the only one 
alive.  As such, he would have tremendous authority as a sage.

There's a story in the Gemara about Moshe getting to see Rabbi Akiva's 
classroom, and getting all depressed because he couldn't follow what was 
going on.  Until he heard something described as Torah l'Moshe miSinai.  
And the reason for that is that he died millenia ago.  He couldn't 
follow, because the Torah grows and develops.  New questions arise that 
weren't even possible before.  But Eliyahu never died.  He's still 
around, and has more Torah knowledge than anyone on earth.  The Gemara 
asks "Sinai v'okeir harim, ma adif?"  And the answer is Sinai, because 
we need the raw information of Torah.  He's got it.


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