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Ovadia's Courage    

Ovadia's Courage

Ovadia the Prophet exhibited unprecedented courage in the service of Hashem. He risked his life daily to hide 100 of Hashem's prophets from the clutches of Queen Jezebel…


The vision of Ovadia. Thus says the Lord Hashem concerning Edom... For the day of Hashem is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your reward shall return upon your own head... And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble, and they shall burn them and consume them; and none shall remain of the house of Esau; for Hashem has spoken... And saviors shall ascend Mount ion to judge the Mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be Hashem's(Ovadia, excerpts from ch. 1, his entire prophecy).

Ovadia's prophecy was brief, but it's so very significant today as we eagerly anticipate Moshiach and the imminent fall of the House of Esau - including Amalek, Haman, the Romans and Hitler - which so terribly tormented our people throughout history.

 Above image: The Prophet Ovadia's gravesite on the Lebanon border, west of Kibbutz Baram in the Upper Galilee.

The Prophet Ovadia is one of the trei esrei, the twelve minor prophets. As a righteous convert of Edomite descent himself, he is given the privilege of prophesying about Esau and Edom. In spite of his background, he purified himself and rose to a magnificent spiritual level. He became the pupil of Elijah the Prophet, and his dedication and courage in fulfilling Hashem's will were unprecedented.
The Zohar tells us that Ovadia presides over the Hall of Righteous Converts in the World to Come.
The Gemara in tractate Sanhedrin, page 37a, describes how Ovadia hid 100 prophets in two separate caves during the reign of the wicked King Ahab and his wanton idolatrous wife Jezebel:
Jezebel had executed almost all the prophets of G-d in order to promote the pave the way for the heathen prophets of the Baal, the popular idolatry of the time. Ovadia rescued 100 of them with great risk to himself, for he was the officer in charge of the royal household! With his life in peril every single day, not only hid these prophets in two separate caves, fifty in each, but supplying them with food and drink during the three years of extreme famine when there was no rain in the Land of Israel. By virtue of his devotion to hashem and his courage in saving the save true prophets, was blessed with the gift of prophecy.
The Book of Kings II (see Chapter 4) further emphasizes Ovadia's self-sacrifice. The widow of a prophet has her two sons taken away from her and sold into slavery because of all her deceased husband's unpaid debts. The Prophet Elisha - Elijah the Prophet's chief disciple and successor - performed a miracle for the widow by filling all the vacant receptacles at her disposal with olive oil, which she sold and redeemed her sons. Rashi tells us that this woman was Ovadia's widow. Ovadia's debts stemmed from the huge amounts of bread and water that he had to purchase on the black market during the famine years to keep the prophets of Hashem alive.

Despite the fact that Ovadia's generation were largely idolators, no one died in the wars. The Midrash explains that no one spoke gossip or slander in that generation. Just imagine the bounty that Jezebel would have paid for information leading to the discovery of another 100 prophets of Hashem! She thought she had killed them all except for Elijah. She would have paid any amount in gold or diamonds! Yet, not a single person informed on Ovadia, despite the fact that many people obviously saw buying flour and water and carrying them to two separate caves.

Ovadia's grave is on a beautiful spot right near the Lebanese border on Route 8967 slightly west of Kibbutz Baram, on the south side of the road. May his prophecy be fulfilled soon, amen!

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