ELIJAH'S CLIMACTIC confrontation on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, the centerpiece of this week’s haftarah (I Kings 18:1-39), which ends in the Divine acceptance of the prophet’s sacrifice over that of the pagan priests, is one of the most sublime events in religious literature.

One of the definitive moments in world history, it captures the moral courage and imagination of humanity. Elijah’s courageous stand is the template and inspiration for all the great lone stands of individual conscience in the cause of moral righteousness against overwhelming mobs and arrogant tyrants throughout history.

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