Did Eliyahu Appear or Not?

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Mirror Reflection

A Lesson For the Children – One day a Jew arrived to see Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev. He was a simple but very rich man, a great philanthropist and a man of great faith. The man turned to the rabbi and said, “With G-d’s help, my house has been blessed and I have great wealth. But there is one thing that causes me great pain and does not let me rest, and that is why I have come to see you.”

“What is it that is bothering you?” the rabbi asked. And the man replied, “Every year I wait for the coming of Eliyahu the Prophet, but I have never had the privilege of seeing him. I bought the most elegant silver cup for him, and as the Seder night approaches my wife shines it until it lights up the entire table. I carefully open the door at the proper time as wide as possible. Please tell me, rabbi, what else can I do in order to be able to see Eliyahu?”

The rabbi, who knew the rich man well, thought for a moment and said: “What you must do is go on a journey to the Groslov Forest. You will arrive there two or three days before Pesach. When you arrive, ask for the house of a certain Jew who lives there. Go to him, and ask to be allowed to join him for his Seder. There, with G-d`s help, you will have the privilege of meeting Eliyahu.”

The rich Jew traveled for days and nights in the cold, through heavy snow, until he arrived at his destination. He introduced himself to the Jew there, and he said, “I would like to join you for the Seder. I was sent here by a great and righteous man, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev.”

The man looked at him in wonder, and said, “You are welcome to come into my house, but I am afraid that I will not be able to act as a respectable host. My house leaks from the holes in the roof, it is very cold outside, and I have no wood for a fire. I do not have any money, and I do not know how I will be able to buy the food for the Seder and for the following days of the holiday.”

When the rich guest heard these words, and when he saw the poor conditions under which the Jew lived, he took a few hundred Rubles out of his pocket and gave them to his host. He said, “Here is what you need, my friend. Fix the roof, buy wood for the fire, and buy all the food that is needed for the holiday.”

The man was overjoyed and he thanked his unexpected guest profusely for the help that he gave him. He fixed the roof and bought wood for the fire, in addition to all the food and drink needed for the Seder and the holiday.

During the Seder, when the time came for the appearance of Eliyahu, the people opened the door wide. The guest waited at the door in anticipation, preparing himself to see Eliyahu… But all they could see was the dark road, and no image of any kind appeared. “How can this be? The righteous rabbi promised!” the guest said to himself. He kept hoping that perhaps Eliyahu would soon appear. But time when on, the Seder was finished, and Eliyahu did not come. All night long, the guest waited, hoping that perhaps he Prophet would arrive. But he was not privileged to see Eliyahu that night.

Bitterly disappointed, the man returned to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, and said to him. “Rabbi, you sent me on a long and exhausting journey, to the house of a desperately poor man, and I truly believed that Eliyahu would appear. We held the Seder according to all the requirements, but even though I did not sleep at all that night I did not see Eliyahu. Do I not have enough credit? Am I not worthy of seeing Eliyahu? Why did you send me there in the first place?”

And Rabbi Levi Yitzchak looked at the simple Jew with deep love. He took his hand and stood him in front of the mirror. He said, “My dear fellow, listen to me. You are worthy, and you have received much credit. At the night of the Seder, for the poor family of your host, you were none other than the Prophet Eliyahu himself!”

(Source: the internet, at: mesaper.co.il)

Reprinted with permission from Zomet Institute (www.zomet.org.il).

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.