Beware Of Any Man Who Tells You He’s Elijah The Prophet And He Wants To Make Moshiach Baby With You

In his second lecture on Rav Yaakov Ettlinger in 2007, Dr. Marc B. Shapiro relates a famous story from 19th Century Eastern Europe.

“The responsa I’m going to tell you now is almost like a movie.

“A man was staying at a woman’s house while her husband was not in town. Her husband went away for business. The woman is at home with her children and servants, so there was no problem with yichud (prohibition against being alone with the opposite sex).

“This woman was pious and modest. She fed this man. He would not eat meat or fish. He was aescetic. All day he would sit in his room with his book and cry. At midnight, he would cry over the destruction of the holy temple. He slept on the floor with a rock for a pillow. Every day, he’d immerse in the river, even though it was the middle of winter.

“When they were alone, the man told the woman he was sent from heaven. He was Elijah the Prophet. The woman believed him.

“After she went to bed, at midnight, he comes into her room, wakes her up and tells her he has gone through the whole land and not found anyone as worthy of her to give birth to the Messiah. The problem is her husband. He is not worthy. He was sent from heaven to sleep with her and she will have a son who’s moshiach to redeem the Jews.

“As proof that he’s Eliyahu Ha Navi (Elijah the Prophet), on the Tuesday after he leaves, she should open the chest in her room she will find a large sum of gold.

“She believed him. They had sex twice Friday night and once Saturday morning and he ran away Sunday and nobody knows where he is.

“The husband returns. They open the chest together and there’s no gold. She realizes she’s been fooled. She told her husband everything. She tries to convince him that she did it all for the sake of heaven because the man was so ugly.

“According to Jewish law, a woman who’s with another man must divorce her husband.

“R. Ettlinger rules that she was raped because she was fooled. Everything she did was for the sake of heaven. She wasn’t betraying her husband. Therefore she doesn’t have to divorce.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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