15 October 2016

Did I see Eliyahu haNavi?

12 Tishrei 5777
Erev Shabbath Ha'azinu 

Image credit: CHLEAKS

I must interrupt the series I am writing called The Obstinate Jew (to be in 5 parts) to record an encounter I had yesterday with a man who, if I were to imagine what Eliyahu haNavi might be like, would be him, having learned that there have been many righteous people in Am Yisrael, unknown to him — before I forget.

Sorry, no picture. :-(

I was on my way to meet my husband and the rest of the class at the OU (Orthodox Union) Center on Keren haYesod Street in "downtown" Yerushalayim on a number 74 bus, if I remember correctly. I managed to get a seat next to a young woman with a baby boy around a year old, right behind the space where people with baby and food carriages (agaloth) park them until they get off.

A couple of stops later, an elderly but quite strong man with a baseball-style cap and "regular" clothes got on the bus with a lot of bags of food. He arranged them on the floor in the carriage park area and stood in front of the young woman and me. He began talking to the baby, trying to engage him, talking about Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya'aqov - in fact, every word out of his mouth was related to Torah, from what I could understand (the entire encounter was in Hebrew.). I murmured to the young woman and winked at her: This guy is like Eliyahu haNavi.

The young woman tried to get her son to wave to "Saba" (grandpa) and say shalom or something, but to no avail. But, he kept looking at the man. He also resisted all attempts on my part as well. Definitely at the stranger-resistant stage, not quite ready to play along.

A couple of stops later, the young woman and her baby got off the bus. He was hungry by then and crying to be fed.

I asked the man if he would like to sit down. He had been standing the entire time up till then. I reckoned that he might be as old as my father would be (in his mid-to-late 80s) if he were alive today.

He sat down and began explaining to me, as best as I can translate a summary of it, that haShem rules over everything and does everything...and something I wasn't sure I understood: that He had said that we weren't going to be ruled over by the nations any more.

I repeated to him, as a question, in my own words, something like: Are you saying that He has said that we would not be ruled over the nations any more? He repeated what I said, and affirmed it, and I said, Baruch haShem!

Just then I saw that we were approaching my stop, and I told him I was getting off. He said, Gam ani (me, too), and began to gather his bags while I got off. As the bus pulled away, I noticed that he hadn't gotten off.

Maybe he was getting off at the next stop, just down the hill from mine. Who knows?

I thought about it later: Maybe I should have let him have the window seat. And, definitely I should have offered to carry some of his bags, even if he isn't Eliyahu. It's a matter of common decency. I would have done it for my dad.

I hope that when I meet Eliyahu for real and knowing for sure, I won't blow it. Then, I will be sure to behave properly when Mashiah is announced.

And I wish this for all of us.

May he come quickly to us with Mashiah, David's descendant!

Yes, I know - wrong season again. R' Sprecher covers this in the video below.

Sukkah: The Honeymoon Hut - R' Ephraim Sprecher

Shabbat shalom and Hag Sukkoth sameah!

Written before Shabbath and posted motza'ei Shabbath. I tried using the automatic-post function and it didn't seem to work!

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