Seeing Elijah

"בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים"

"In every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we ourselves emerged from Egypt."

I want to revisit the above statement in a bit of a chassidic way - I have adapted the following story:

The story is told of a young man who was pestering his rebbe. "I want to see Eliyahu at Pesach time, I want to really meet Eliyahu." He pestered him thus for days. Finally the rebbe said: "Not just anyone gets to see Eliyahu. You have to earn it. Here, take this food and medicine and walk a day and a half's journey to a Jewish family who live in a distant village."

Eagerly, the young man took the supplies and set off. The journey was difficult, he got lost, and when he finally arrived, he had trouble locating the Jewish family. He gave them the supplies. They gratefully asked him to stay for dinner, and even though he was running late and impatient to get home, he stayed and smiled with them so as not to ruin their joy. The next morning he had to get up extremely early and go back the way he came, getting lost again.

Finally he arrived home, irritated and exhausted."Rebbe, I did everything you said and I did not meet Eliyahu! You lied to me."

Calmly the rebbe said: "The reason you didn't meet him is because he is right here in the next room!"

The young man's face lit up, and he followed the rebbe's finger into the other room. "Look to the left as you walk in and you'll see him!" the rebbe called after him.

Disappointed, the young man came out again.

"Did you see him?"

"All I saw was a mirror!"

"Exactly! And when you looked in the mirror, what did you see? The Eliyahu Hanavi in yourself."

In every generation, each of us must see ourselves - for that is the very essence of leaving Egypt. To see the highest self we can perceive when we look in the mirror, and live in the knowledge of that expanded self.

(And כאילו is like כאליהו [thanks Ursula!])


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