11 As they kept on walking and talking, a fiery chariot with fiery horses suddenly appeared and separated one from the other; and Eliyahu went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
vai-HEE HAY-mah ho-l’-KHEEM ha-LOKH v’-da-BAYR v’-hi-NAY re-khev AYSH v’-SU-say AYSH va-yaf-RI-du BAYN sh’-nay-HEM va-YA-al AY-li-YA-hu bas-a-RAH ha-sha-MA-yim
2:11 Eliyahu went up to heaven in a whirlwind
In one of the Bible’s most powerful images, Eliyahu the Prophet leaves this world and ascends to the heavens in a fiery chariot. The Sages teach (Bava Batra 121b) that Eliyahu did not die, but left this world while still alive. Because he remains alive, he maintains contact with the world below. He is therefore able to understand the needs of every generation. This constant connection is part of what makes him one of history’s most beloved prophets. Tradition teaches that when God decides it is time to reveal the Mashiach, Eliyahu will return to proclaim his arrival to the world. According to the prophet Malachi, after he returns “He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents” (3:24). Eliyahu will bring peace to the world, creating the right environment for the arrival of the Mashiach.