Of a Widow, a Patroness, Their Stricken Sons, and Two Hebrew Prophets

What a pair of parallel stories tells us about gratitude and awe.

From a painting of the prophet Elisha by Pieter de Grebber, 1630. Wikipedia.

From a painting of the prophet Elisha by Pieter de Grebber, 1630. Wikipedia.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Oct. 25 2018
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


This Sabbath’s haftarah (prophetic reading) of 2Kings 4:1-37 tells the story of the prophet Elisha and his encounter with a wealthy woman, the lady of Shunem, and the miracles he performs for her in the course of their complex relationship. To make sense of this episode, we need to look back to Elisha’s final conversation with his great mentor, Elijah.

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More about: Hebrew Bible, Religion & Holidays