80. אָמַר לוֹ, אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי דָבָר, שֶׁהִנֵּה בְּאֵלִיָּהוּ לֹא כָתוּב בּוֹ וַיִּירָא וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל נַפְשׁוֹ, אֶלָּא וַיַּרְא, רְאִיָּה רָאָה. וּמָה רָאָה? אֶלָּא רָאָה שֶׁהִנֵּה מִכַּמָּה שָׁנִים הוֹלֵךְ אַחֲרָיו מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְלֹא נִמְסָר בְּיָדוֹ, וְעַכְשָׁו וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל נַפְשׁוֹ. מַה זֶּה וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל נַפְשׁוֹ? הָלַךְ לְקִיּוּם הַנֶּפֶשׁ, וּמִי הוּא? עֵץ הַחַיִּים לְהִדָּבֵק שָׁם.
Rabbi Chiya says that Elijah the prophet was afraid of queen Jezebel when she threatened his life 1 Kings 19:2
“וַתִּשְׁלַח אִיזֶבֶל מַלְאָךְ אֶל אֵלִיָּהוּ לֵאמֹר כֹּה יַעֲשׂוּן אֱלֹהִים וְכֹה יוֹסִפוּן כִּי כָעֵת מָחָר אָשִׂים אֶת נַפְשְׁךָ כְּנֶפֶשׁ אַחַד מֵהֶם.”
“Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”
The question is why was Elijah afraid and ran away for his life when he was able to make commands and the Holy One Blessed be He, made them happen as we read in 1 Kings 17:1
“וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלִיָּהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי מִתֹּשָׁבֵי גִלְעָד אֶל אַחְאָב חַי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר עָמַדְתִּי לְפָנָיו אִם יִהְיֶה הַשָּׁנִים הָאֵלֶּה טַל וּמָטָר כִּי אִם לְפִי דְבָרִי.”
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
Rabbi Yossi said that they already studied that the righteous don’t want to bother God when they realize the presence of danger.
It is similar to Samuel the prophet that said;
1 Samuel 16:2
“וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֵיךְ אֵלֵךְ וְשָׁמַע שָׁאוּל וַהֲרָגָנִי וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה עֶגְלַת בָּקָר תִּקַּח בְּיָדֶךָ וְאָמַרְתָּ לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהוָה בָּאתִי.”
“And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And YHVH said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to YHVH.’”
The righteous people won’t bother God when it comes to their own risk.
1 Kings 19:3
“וַיַּרְא וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל נַפְשׁוֹ וַיָּבֹא בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע אֲשֶׁר לִיהוּדָה וַיַּנַּח אֶת נַעֲרוֹ שָׁם.”
“And he saw that and arose and ran to his soul and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.” (The translation of this verse is close to literal to make is close to the deeper meaning that is explained by the Zohar, Zion)
The Zohar tells us not to read the first word as ‘fear’ because it is written similar to the word ‘Saw’. The Zohar explains that Elijah saw the angel of death after him for the past years but the angel didn’t have permission to take his life. Now Elijah ‘ran to his soul’ that means he ran to connect to the Tree of Life so the angel of death won’t follow him anymore.
Connection to the Tree of Life protects us from death.
Tree of Life connection is made through studies of the Torah and its secrets and by giving Tzedakah.