Karmelis, Eliyahu Vs. Armilus


Da’at Torah & More On Making The Torah Personal

Then fire from Hashem (אש-יי) descended and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the earth; and it licked up water that was in the trench … I Malachim 18:38

In a previous post, My Seat Among The Companions, I discussed a dream where in it I wrote:

The woman went to the hotel. The two who had wanted me to give up my seat went with her to the hotel to comfort her. But, they couldn’t stay with her the event was coming and they needed to get back to their own seats. The seats were the safest place to be. They were protected. The hotel was merely a shelter offering minimum protection (like a bomb shelter).They were upset with me. They wanted their friend to have my seat and for me to go to the hotel for the homeless.

In a follow-up post, A Secret Material Girl, I discussed the hotel symbolism, writing in part regarding a hotel’s connections to an unrectified malchut and to a reshut harabim:

Given this first association (see link) with material comfort and ease, coupled with the fact that the first two letters מל of מלון are the same as those of malchut מלכות, it is reasonable to suggest that the hotel is likewise symbolic for malchut. Extrapolating from this correlation further, we can see that the hotel symbolizes an incomplete and unrectified malchut in some manner.

In the word malchut, the letter lamed ל is followed by the letter kaf כ which is able to “actualize potential” and/or suppress the forces of nature according to the Divine Will. In contrast, the lamed ל of hotel (a reshut harabim) is followed by the letter vav ו symbolizing a tzimtzum, judgment and harsh strictness.

There is signifcantly more here to the distinction of attaining one’s seat (a reshut hayachid, private domain) and being sent to a hotel (a reshut harabim, public domain) to wait out approaching judgment than its association with the rectification-state of malchut. There is a connection to 1) true/false nevuah and 2) the apocalyptic figures of Armilus and the moshiach (messianic consciousness anointed by a prophet) as well.

One point to be made is that the dream begins in neither a reshut hayachid nor a reshut harabim, but somewhere between them. In other words, in a karmelis; that is, a state of being “between” one “set” state and another “set” state. A karmelis is both “a little bit private, and a little bit public” and neither fully private nor fully public.

A ba’alat teshuvah is like a karmelis when it comes to observance – she is somewhere between liberal and orthodox in observance, but neither really because she was not raised in a religiously Jewish environment. She’s just a Jew. A little bit liberal. A little bit orthodox. In between the historically “set” states of religiously observant identity.

Why is the concept of karmelis important to understand? It is important to understand because the word karmelis is from the same 4-letter root כרמל as Carmel (Haifa). Mount Carmel is the location of the showdown between Eliyahu and the false prophets of Ba’al, where fire descends from heaven and consumes the acceptable offering. Similarly, the unique aleph made of two “fire” letters shin came down and consumed the life I had prior to my return to Torah.

Taking all this together, karmelis also describes an in-between time during the life of a ba’alat teshuvah where a previous foundation has (or has not) been consumed by אש-יי, and like the city of Haifa, which has recently been consumed by rocket fire. The seat in my dream, therefore, distinguishes a case of true nevuah – a move from uncertainty to certainty in the direction of truth (reshut hayachid). In contradistinction, the hotel distinguishes a case of false prophecy – a move from uncertainty to certainty in the direction of incomplete truth or falsehood (reshut harabim).

Interestingly, for Eruvin 7a we find this commentary regarding karmelis:

The Rambam (in Perush ha’Mishnayos to Shabbos) explains that the word “Karmelis” means “k’Armelis”.

The word construct k’Armelis also sheds light on the apocalyptic prophetic teaching regarding Armilus and “the battle in between” (of distinguishing truth and falsehood). Armilus lacks the letter kaf כ (as does the hebrew word for hotel, see above), the power to actualize potential and the good desire to be utilized by the Divine Will to influence historical events. The apocalyptic battle of moshiach with Armilus is like the battle of Eliyahu with the false prophets of Ba’al. In other words, it is a battle which distinguishes true from false nevuah.

We can now also understand why the “battle between the prophets” is so important. It is also a battle between Armilus and messianic consciousness.

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