Home Self-Guided Exploration Adonai Alone is God!
Closing the Gates, Sacred Text, Yom Kippur

Adonai Alone is God!

High Holy Days 2023

1 Kings 18:39

וַתִּפֹּל אֵשׁ־יְהוָה וַתֹּאכַל אֶת־הָעֹלָה וְאֶת־הָעֵצִים וְאֶת־הָאֲבָנִים וְאֶת־הֶעָפָר וְאֶת־הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר־בַּתְּעָלָה לִחֵכָה׃

וַיַּרְא כָּל־הָעָם וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל־פְּנֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ ’יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים’


Then fire from God descended and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the earth; and it licked up the water that was in the trench.When they saw this, all the people flung themselves on their faces and cried out: “Adonai alone is God, Adonai alone is God!”

In the final moments of the final prayer service of Yom Kippur, this line “Adonai, hu haElohim” is repeated seven times in a row as we enthusiastically exhaust any energy and prayerfulness we have left. The text comes from this moment of ecstatic celebration concerning the prophet Elijah. Elijah had challenged 450 the priests of Baal (a Canaanite God) to prove that indeed Adonai was the one and only true God. The challenge called for both deities to ignite and burn a sacrifice on a soaking wet altar. Baal did not respond to the prayers of the priests, but the awesome presence of Adonai was on full display. The Israelites’ realization and affirmation of the miraculous power of God has become our affirmation for the power and wonder which we experience at the close of Yom Kippur.