But read Chayyei Sarah's restrained and moving account of her experience of being at eighteen year old Eliyahu Asheri's funeral, and you will get a sense of a life lost that cannot be reduced and shrugged aside through one-dimensional demonologies and labelling:
What interested me most were the speeches about what Eliyahu had been like. Every single speaker referred to him as a modest, spiritual, non-materialistic person, someone simple and kind who never liked to attract attention. Apparently, his prayers were inspiring; watching him pray was “watching someone with incredible closeness to God, a pure faith. Eliyahu’s prayers were a fiery torch.” The rabbi of Itamar said that when everyone else would exit the synagogue after services, Eliyahu was always still there, still praying. The head of his school said that it will be hard for him to look at the front right seat in the study hall, where Eliyahu always sat.
“The sun sets every night,” said a rabbi from Bnei Akiva. “It has done so every day since the beginning of the world, and we accept it as the way of things. But who has heard of the sun setting in the afternoon? Eliyahu was a sun. He was on his way to become a teacher of Torah, but was interrupted. The sun has set before its time.”
Unbelievably, Eliyahu’s mother found the strength to speak. She didn’t cry while she was talking – all the rabbis had been sobbing through their speeches – but quietly spoke to her son, with incredible simplicity and dignity.
“Eliyahu,” she said. “You always came to other people’s defense. In our home, when we judged others harshly, you always said not to judge, never to see someone based on their outward appearance. So gently and sweetly you came to the defense of others.”
“Now, Eliyahu, come to our defense. Use your extraordinary power of prayer, the prayer that we all admired, to act as our defense in Heaven. Ask God not to judge us harshly. Pray to Him to protect us, and pray to Him to help all of us to know him, for all of the Children of Israel to recognize Him, for He is our father.”