Off the Beaten Track: Elijah's cave of surprises

Hiding in the shadow of Mount Carmel is a cave full of mystical stories and superstitions.

November 1, 2012 14:24
3 minute read.
Mount Carmel

Elijah's cave. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Joe Yudin owns

There are several local legends about this cave. Apparently it’s famous for curing the mentally ill and for women who want to have a son. According to a Jewish pilgrim in 1742 the small cavern on the women’s side of the cave is where Elijah is said to have sat. The same traveler also claimed that the small water cistern at the fore of the cave will fill up with water if one prays for it.

In the mid-nineteenth century it’s said that a thirteen year old girl of virtue was seized upon by holy spirits. Her family bound her arms and legs and shut her inside the cave for three days. She swore that the prophets Elijah and Elisha visited her during her fits telling her to immerse herself in the waters of the Sea of Galilee, which she did, freeing her of the evil spirits.

Another legend claims that Jesus of Nazareth once entered the cave and recited the name of God which isn’t supposed to be spoken aloud. The cave immediately was shut tight, trapping Jesus inside. Rabbi Judah the Gardener came quickly to the cave and said “Cave, Cave, open thyself, because I am the messenger of the Living God!” The cave opened up and Jesus was able to exit and preach on Mount Carmel.

Joe Yudin became a licensed tour guide in 1999. He completed his Master’s degree at the University of Haifa in the Land  of Israel Studies and is currently studying toward a PhD.

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