Eliyahu’s Locker Room – Bava Metzia Daf 114


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The Gemora (Sukkah 5a) states that the presence of Hashem (as manifested in the higher worlds) never descended to within ten tefachim of the physical world. Similarly, Moshe and Eliyahu could not ascend to within ten tefachim of the upper worlds.

Discussing that Gemora, the Chasam Sofer explains that this was only as long as Eliyahu was encumbered by his physical body. However, once his soul was freed from its body, he assumed the status of an angel, and was not bound by any of these limitations.

The Chasam Sofer proceeds to say that when Mashiach comes, Eliyahu will once again don his body and live as a human amongst the other great people of that great generation. He will be allowed to rule on any halachic issues (a privilege reserved for mankind) since at that time he will have reassumed the existence of a human being. Meanwhile, however, he has the status of an angel, and therefore he is not bound by any of the limitations imposed upon men. This applies for halachah as well; Eliyahu may traverse the globe on Shabbos to go to a bris milah, even though this involves traveling beyond the permitted distance, since as an angel he is not bound by halachah.

Our Gemora relates an incident where Rabbah bar Avuha encountered Eliyahu in a graveyard. Rabbah asked him how he was permitted to be there despite his being a Kohen. The Chasam Sofer explains that Eliyahu must have been in his body at the time, because otherwise, he would have the status of an angel, and Rabbah would have known that as such, these halachos do not apply to him.