Pinchas is Eliyahu?

This series will attempt to examine the popular traditional Jewish belief that Pinchas  (grandson of Aaron) of the Bible is the same person as Eliyahu ha-Navi (Elijah the Prophet). According to tradition, Eliyahu, first mentioned in the book of Kings, by virtue of his immortality, continues to visit the Jewish people throughout the generations and will herald the coming of the Messiah at the end of time. Some sources seem to indicate that the source of Eliyahu’s immortality is Pinchas’ selfless action mention  in Numbers 25, risking his life for G-d’s honor. He is awarded G-d’s “Covenant of Peace,” understood by some to be a promise of immortality. Eliyahu is, then, a recurrance of Pinchas under a different alias.

Let us examine, source by source, how ubiquitous (or not), this tradition is.

In no particular order:

Pirkey d’Rabi Eliezer

Shemoth Rabah 40

My Own Intuition

According to B’Reshith Rabah 71:12

Tana d’Vey Eliyahu Zuta, Ch. 15

Tana d’Vey Eliyahu Rabah 18

Midrash Eleh Ezkerah

4 thoughts on “Pinchas is Eliyahu?

    1. Also see this post — — where I note that the Yalkut’s version of this excerpt from Tana d’Vey Eliyahu has Eliyahu himself declare that he is from the seed of Leah, the opposite of the standard printed version. It’s been a long time since I wrote these pieces, but I seem to recall feeling that the Yalkut’s “opinion” was that Eliyahu was Pinchas and that the sources he presented leaned that way. In other words, I don’t think he quotes the other views at all. (I don’t remember offhand, but I went through a lot of sources and never finished writing the series…)

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