Did Elyahu Die?
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Question: What happened to Eliyahu haNavi? Did he die? Is he "still alive"? If so, what does that mean? If not, why do people believe that he never died? Also, what proofs (not from logic alone, but from Tanach, Talmud, Rishonim etc.) are used by each side?
Mesora: I once heard a rabbi comment that Elyahu said to Elisha (Kings II, 2:10), "if you will see me taken from you...."
The rabbi asked, "what does if have to do with it? If Elyahu's ascent was a physical phenomena, if one's eyes are opened, he will see it. Either you see something or you don't. The rabbi said, the "if" implies this wasn't a physical phenomena, but rather it was a vision of some sort, and not a normal, physical event. Elyahu said to Elisha, "if your level of perfection is worthy to see...", or rather, understand in a vision of some sort.
Perhaps this ascent of Elyahu leads some to believe that he didn't die. But why shouldn't he die? Isn't this God's plan for all men? I did not find a commentator who said this outright, but then again, learning means we use our reasoning to arrive at conclusions. Additionally, even if we found a commentator who said outright that this was a vision, the question will be, "how did he come to this conclusion?" He too must use reasoning to arrive at ideas. So to ask for a commentator is fine, but it is not more conclusive than what reasoning tells us.
A related point, when the Rabbis teach that "Jacob didn't die", they mean to say there was little difference to one so perfect between his life and his death, as if to say, "he didn't die" But it says in the passage that the Egyptians embalmed Jacob. He clearly died.
Perhaps here is a precedent for explaining that all do die.

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