Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TO SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI

READ BY HEART) THERE WAS ONCE A WEALTHY MAN WHO WAS A FOLLOWER OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV… THIS MAN HAD A FASCINATION WITH ELIYAHU HANAVI (THE PROPHET ELIJAH)… HE HAD HEARD THAT THERE WERE CERTAIN SPIRITUAL EXERCISES ONE COULD DO THROUGH WHICH ONE COULD ACTUALLY GET TO SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI WITH ONE’S PHYSICAL EYES… SO HE CAME TO HIS REBBE, THE BAAL SHEM TOV, AND ASKED FOR THE PROGRAM… "REBBE, I WANT TO SEE ELIJAH THE PROPHET…. PLEASE HELP ME DO IT"…
THE BAAL SHEM TOV PUT HIM OFF, BUT THE MAN PERSISTED; HE WOULDN’T GIVE UP… FOR MONTHS HE BEGGED THE TZADIK TO LET HIM SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI… HE OFFERED ENORMOUS SUMS OF MONEY, BUT THE BAAL SHEM TOV REBUFFED HIM…
FINALLY, A FEW DAYS BEFORE PASSOVER, THE BAAL SHEM TOV TOLD THIS MAN THAT HE WOULD GIVE HIM THE PROGRAM – ALLOW HIM TO SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI – ON ONE CONDITION: HE’D HAVE TO CARRY OUT HIS INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY AS CONVEYED – WITHOUT DEVIATING ONE IOTA… THE MAN READILY AGREED... “SURE REBBE, I’LL DO EXACTLY AS YOU SAY.”
“OKAY,” SAID THE BAAL SHEM, “THIS IS WHAT YOU DO… TAKE TWO BOXES AND FILL ONE WITH ENOUGH FOOD, WINE AND REFRESHMENTS FOR MANY PEOPLE… THE OTHER BOX YOU ARE TO FILL WITH CHILDREN'S CLOTHING… THEN, ON EREV PESACH (DAY BEFORE PASSOVER) TRAVEL TO THE CITY OF MINSK… ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN, RIGHT BEFORE WHERE THE FOREST BEGINS, THERE’S THIS DILAPIDATED HOUSE... FIND THAT HOUSE, AND SHORTLY BEFORE CANDLE- LIGHTING TIME AT SUNSET, KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND ASK IF THEY WOULDN’T MIND PUTTING YOU UP FOR THE HOLIDAY."
THE MAN HEARD THE INSTRUCTIONS… HE INFORMED HIS FAMILY THAT BEING THAT HE WAS ABOUT TO SEE HIS LIFE’S DREAM FULFILLED, HE WOULD HAVE TO BE AWAY FOR THE FIRST DAYS OF YOM TOV… HE THEN WENT AND DID EXACTLY AS THE BAAL SHEM TOV SAID…. HE FILLED PARCELS WITH FOOD AND CLOTHING AND WENT TO MINSK, WHERE HE FOUND THE BROKEN-DOWN HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF TOWN… HE KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. WHEN THE WOMAN OPENED IT, HE ASKED IF HE COULD STAY WITH THEM FOR THE HOLIDAY.
"HOW CAN I WELCOME YOU WHEN I DON'T HAVE ANY FOOD IN THE HOUSE!?" SHE EXCLAIMED…
"WELL I HAPPEN TO HAVE SOME BOXES HERE WITH ME," HE SAID, "I HAVE ENOUGH FOOD FOR ALL OF US."… HE CAME IN, OPENED THE BOX AND, GAVE THE CHILDREN FOOD TO EAT... THEN HE OPENED THE OTHER BOX AND THE CHILDREN ALL TOOK CLOTHES FOR THEMSELVES – THIS ONE A SHIRT, THAT ONE A JACKET, THE OTHER ONE A HAT... HE WAS THERE FOR TWO DAYS, CELEBRATING PASSOVER WITH THIS FAMILY, ALL THE WHILE WAITING TO SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI… HE DID NOT EVEN SLEEP... HOW COULD HE SLEEP?... HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE ELIJAH THE PROPHET?.. BUT HE SAW NO ONE…. ELIYAHU DID NOT APPEAR TO HIM…
HE RETURNED TO THE BAAL SHEM TOV AND SAID, "REBBE, I WAS IN THAT HOUSE FOR TWO DAYS AND DID NOT SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI AS PROMISED!"…
"DID YOU DO EVERYTHING I TOLD YOU?" ASKED THE BAAL SHEM TOV….
"I DID!" HE SAID…
"AND YOU DIDN'T SEE HIM?"….
"NO, REBBE."….
"ARE YOU SURE?"
"YES, REBBE!... I DIDN'T SEE HIM!"
"IN THAT CASE,” SAID THE BAAL SHEM TOV, “YOU'LL HAVE TO RETURN FOR THE SECOND DAYS OF THE HOLIDAY… GO BACK THERE WITH A BOX OF FOOD… AGAIN, BE SURE TO ARRIVE JUST BEFORE SUNSET, BUT THIS TIME DON'T KNOCK IMMEDIATELY... WAIT FOR A WHILE AND JUST STAND IN FRONT OF THE DOOR, LISTENING."
THE MAN ONCE AGAIN TOLD HIS FAMILY THAT HE’D HAVE TO BE AWAY FOR THE SECOND DAYS AS WELL… IT WAS TOUGH, BUT THEY ALL AGREED THAT IT WAS WORTH HIS BEING AWAY THIS ONE HOLIDAY IF HE COULD FINALLY GET TO SEE ELIYAHU HANAVI…
HE WENT BACK TO THAT HOUSE IN MINSK… HE STOOD IN FRONT OF THE DOOR, LISTENING…. INSIDE HE HEARD THE CHILDREN CRYING, "MOMMY, WE'RE HUNGRY! WE HAVEN'T EATEN THE WHOLE DAY!” … TO WHICH HE HEARD THE MOTHER RESPOND, "CHILDREN!... DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE CRYING BEFORE PESACH THAT YOU HAD NO FOOD OR CLOTHES?.. AND I TOLD YOU THAT G-D WOULD SEND ELIYAHU HANAVI WHO'LL BRING YOU FOOD AND CLOTHING AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED!... WASN'T I RIGHT?... DIDN'T ELIYAHU COME AND BRING YOU FOOD AND CLOTHING?... HE EVEN STAYED WITH US FOR TWO DAYS!... WELL, I ASSURE YOU THAT ELIYAHU WILL COME NOW, TOO, AND BRING YOU FOOD!"…
THE CHASID THEN UNDERSTOOD WHAT HIS REBBE, THE BAAL SHEM TOV HAD MEANT…. HE KNOCKED ON THE DOOR…

No comments: