385. Rabbi Aba said, Happy are Yisrael, that the Holy One, blessed be He, chose them from among all the other nations to receive the sign of the covenant. Because whoever retains this sign shall not go down to Gehenom as long as he preserves it properly, does not subject it to another power, REFERRING TO A MENSTRUATING WOMAN, A FEMALE SLAVE, A GENTILE WOMAN, OR A PROSTITUTE, and does not lie in the Name of the King. Because if one has lied IN THE NAME, BY THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT, it is as though he has lied in the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written, "They have dealt treacherously against Hashem, for they have begotten strange children" (Hoshea 5:7).
386. Rabbi Aba continued, "When a man brings his son forth to elevate and initiate him to the covenant, the Holy One, blessed be He, calls upon His retinue, THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN, and declares, 'See what a creature I have made in the world.' At that time, Elijah is invited, flies over the entire world in four crossings, and then appears there."
387. Therefore, we have learned that a man should prepare a chair in honor of Elijah, and should say, "This is the chair of Elijah." If he does not announce this, Elijah will not appear in that place nor ascend and testify about the circumcision before the Holy One, blessed be He.
388. Come and behold, It is written first, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (I Melachim 19:13), and "I have been very jealous for Hashem...because they have forsaken Your covenant..." (Ibid. 14). THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, SAID TO ELIJAH, "As you live, you shall be present in every place that My sons shall imprint this holy sign on their flesh. And the mouth that testified that Yisrael had forsaken the covenant shall now testify that Yisrael observes it!" Thus, we have learned why Elijah was punished by the Holy One, blessed be He - because he accused His sons BY SAYING THAT THE CHILDREN OF YISRAEL "HAVE FORSAKEN YOUR COVENANT."
389. By now, the light of day shone, and they were still studying Torah. As they stood to go, THE LANDLORD said to them, "Complete the subject that you were discussing during the night." They asked, "What subject?" He answered, "Tomorrow you can see the face of the guarantor of the covenant, ELIJAH, because my wife begs you to stay for the celebration of the circumcision of our son." Rabbi Aba responded, "This is an invitation to participate in a commandment, so let us stay!"
390. They waited all that day. At night, the landlord gathered all his friends together. They studied Torah all that night, and nobody slept. He said to them, "I ask of you all, that each person give a new explanation about the words of the Torah."
391. One man opened the discussion by saying that it is written, "In time of tumultuous strife (Heb. pra'ot) in Yisrael, when the people willingly offered themselves, praise Hashem" (Shoftim 5:2). AND HE ASKED, "Why did Deborah and Barak open their poem with this phrase?" Because, as we have learned, the world cannot exist without this covenant. And it is written, "If My covenant be not day and night, it were as if I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth" (Yirmeyah 33:25), as heaven and earth are established upon it.
392. As a result, as long as Yisrael observe this covenant, the ordinances of heaven and earth continue to exist. But as soon as Yisrael does not heed to this covenant, then the covenant between the heavens and the earth ceases to exist, and no blessings appear in the world.
393. Come and behold, Other nations ruled over Yisrael only when Yisrael neglected this covenant. And what did they neglect? THEY PERFORMED THE CIRCUMCISION, BUT they did not uncover the corona (Heb. pri'a) and reveal the sacred flesh. This is why it is written, "And they forsook Hashem ..." (Shoftim 2:13) and so "He sold them to the hand of Sisra" (I Shmuel 12:9). THEREFORE, THE NATIONS DID NOT RULE OVER YISRAEL UNTIL THEY NEGLECTED THE COVENANT and they actually "forsook Hashem." Then Deborah appeared and volunteered in the name of all Yisrael, for the cause, and then their enemies were subdued.
394. This refers to what we have learned about the Holy One, blessed be He, Who said to Joshua, "The children of Yisrael are not circumcised because they did not uncover the sacred flesh. Therefore they do not uphold My covenant. Yet you plan on bringing them to the land of Yisrael and overcoming their enemies. "Circumcise the children of Yisrael a second time!" (Yehoshua 5:2). And before they uncovered the corona and this covenant was revealed, they did not enter to the land of Yisrael and their enemies were not subdued. So here as well, when Yisrael volunteered to reveal the sign OF THIS COVENANT, their enemies were overcome and blessings returned to the world. Therefore it is written, "In time of tumultuous strife (also: an uncovering of flesh) in Yisrael, when the people willingly offered themselves, praise Hashem."