Positive Action Always Matters The Angel Elijah is Always Near.

In the Jewish tradition we talk a lot about Elijah. He is a very special angel who has all sorts of mystical duties. It is traditional to leave a wine glass for Elijah at our Passover Table and to even open the door for Elijah so he can enter and drink, along with all the rest of us. He is so important that is everyone’s guest! People long to see him and there is a tradition that once in awhile he comes to earth in earthly form. Sometimes he is a beggar. This type of appearance reminds us to never ignore the needy. And other times he is in other forms.

Here is a story about Elijah loosely based on a Rabbi’s* talk, that is meaningful to all of us!

Once there was a man who wanted so very much to meet the angel Elijah. He prayed day and night for this uplifting meeting. If only it could take place! So he decided to go to a great rabbi and ask his advice on how he could meet up with Elijah.

The Rabbi pondered a long time this man’s request and finally answered:

“This is what you should do. There is a poor widowed woman who lives at the edge of town with many children. They have hardly enough to eat and dress in rags. Go to them the day before Rosh Hashanah and bring them lots of healthy delicious food. And also bring them clothes and other household goods you can think of. This should help you to see Elijah.” The man was thrilled. He joyfully asked his wife to prepare extra food for the holiday. He eagerly put together bags of his family’s used clothes and even asked neighbors for used household goods and more clothing. His wagon was full by the time he arrived at the run down cottage at the edge of town where the woman and her children lived.

The children came out to greet him. Soon they will dancing and laughing with glee as the wagon was unloaded. Their mother just stood in shock, not able to move. Finally she said, “Thank you, you have saved us!”

The man went home happy and uplifted, but later became sad, as he realized he had not met Elijah.

So after Rosh Hashanah he went back to the Rabbi and told him what he had done and of his distress at still not seeing Elijah.

This time the Rabbi took even longer to answer. Finally, he said, “Go back again to the same woman’s house. It is the day before Yom Kipper and they need food again. This time you will see Elijah.”

The man left, a little disgruntled. Maybe the Rabbi should have suggested a different family. Or even going to a strange town. He had already gone there and nothing happened. Still, he got his wife to help him and soon his wagon was full with delicious food and treats.

As he came up to the cottage no one came to greet him. He heard crying through the open window. He drew his horse to a halt and listened. Inside a boy was crying, “How can a fast tomorrow? We have no food today. I’m supposed to eat a lot today, to have the strength to fast tomorrow! I can’t do this!”

And soon another child, a teenage girl was heard sobbing. “And how will you fast, Mommy, you will be so weak!” And the mother then replied, “I don’t know. But I do know that we have to fast. Maybe there will be a miracle like last week.

We were hungry then too, and our clothes were in rags. And remember, the angel Elijah came and saved us! So don’t give up, it is still early in the day and plenty of time to eat for tomorrow!”

The man was awe struck. The woman had called him Elijah! Soon he knocked on the door and cries of elation broke out. The kids called him ‘Elijah’ as the food was unloaded. He was hugged and kissed and the family called out his ‘name’ and thanked him as he and his horse left to go home.

Surprise and happiness filled his heart. What did this mean? Surely he was not an angel!

And that is where the Rabbi left the story, going on to say, that we can all become Elijah’s. All we have to do is look around and take positive action and do good deeds when they are necessary. Elijah may be an angel but he is also on earth every day, potentially in every person.

What can you do today to be one more Elijah on earth? Write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com

*The story was told by Rabbi Lichenstein of Lakewood. I heard it second hand, so I apologize if I left out important details. I hope I caught and transmitted the essence.

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