An Elijah Sighting

Thursday, 1 August, 2013 - 3:58 pm

There is a story of a Jew who asked the Baal Shemtov how he could merit seeing Elijah the Prophet. The Baal Shemtov instructed him to fill a wagon with food and clothing and travel to a particular village for Rosh Hashanah. He was to go to the shack at the edge of town and ask to spend the holiday with them. Upon answering his knock, a woman informed him that she had nothing for her family so she would find it difficult to host him for the holiday. He replied that he had enough for everyone and even some new clothes and shoes for the children. After two days filled with anticipation that he would finally achieve his dream of seeing Elijah, he returned with great disappointment to the Baal Shemtov.


The Baal Shemtov instructed him to load up a wagon with food and housewares and return to that village for Yom Kippur. As he approached the shack he heard a child’s voice calling excitedly, “Mommy, do you remember the great miracle that happened to us on Rosh Hashanah when Eliyahu Hanavi came to visit? Well he is here again with provisions for the next holiday.” Upon hearing this he understood the message that the Baal Shemtov was trying to convey. Sometimes being an “Elijah” is as valuable as seeing the real thing.

In life there are opportunities to be “angels” that provide help in one form or another. This past Saturday night a few of us sat in the OR waiting room at Ochsner as Hagar Vaks, an Israeli patient, underwent a liver and kidney transplant. She had a seven month wait during which various members of her family stayed with her in New Orleans. The procedure lasted over seven hours. At 2 AM, Dr. Ari Cohen emerged to inform her father, Nissim, that the surgery was successful. He mentioned that there were several other transplants underway and they had a few on the previous two nights as well. I asked him how he endures such long and intense periods of time without sleep and he dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. I realized that here was another Elijah, a group of “angels” that literally save lives under very trying circumstances. I was awed by their dedication and their privilege of being G-d’s messengers to bring healing and life to so many. May Hagar have a Refuah Sheleimah – complete recovery and may Hashem bless her medical team for their role in giving her a new lease on life.

This week was a busy one for Simchas – happy occasions. There was a wedding, an Upshernish, two births, and a Pidyon Haben.

Mazel Tov to Chaya (Kaufmann) & Berry Silver upon their marriage.

Mazel Tov to Jennifer & Neil Schneider for Josh’s Upshernish.

Mazel Tov to Joe & Suzanne Insler upon the birth of a son. Congratulations to the proud grandparents Barbara & Michael Insler.

Mazel Tov to Tzivyah (Kehaty) & Shloime Greenwald upon the birth of their daughter, Tamar Leah. Special Mazel Tov to the grandparents Rivkah & Uzzi Kehaty.

Mazel Tov to Orit & Benny Naghi for the Pidyon Haben (redemption of the firstborn) of their son Meir Efraim.

Good Shabbos and Kesiva Vachasima Tova, L’shana Tova U’mesukah.

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin


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