Elijah the Prophet
is Not the Tooth Fairy
by Rabbi Rick Brody
Elijah the Prophet is not the Tooth Fairy or the Groundhog.
We don’t “check” to see if he came when we weren’t paying attention.
The question of his arrival is not a game.
When he comes, we will know — and he will not disappear, leaving only faint traces of his presence.
Rather, Elijah’s arrival will shatter our worlds, carry us to a new plane of reality.
It will resound like a reverberating shofar, flow like a gushing stream.
We will know. He will be no invisible interloper. He will sit with us and drink with us, sharing in our joy and answering our questions.
His cup sits here not as an opportunity to check for missing wine, stolen surreptitiously like pesadik cookies from the cookie jar.
No, it sits here as a reminder of our yearning for his arrival, as a reminder of our responsibility to pave the way for his heralding of the Messianic Time.
The question is not “Will he come this year?” and it will not be “Did he come while we were dining and schmoozing?” It is — and will be, until he comes to answer it — “what are we doing and what can we do to make our celebration of freedom a permanent one?” His absence is the continual reminder that we have not yet established the fertile ground in which our Messianic dreams can grow and flourish to their complete reality. Conquering that absence is the riddle we need to solve — and we will know when it is ready to be solved.
Don’t keep checking the cup to look for missing wine as a herald. Keep checking yourself and your community for the wine we still need to pour so that the cup is filled to overflowing — ready without question for the guest whose arrival will be no mystery, whose presence will be so known that our attention will not be on determining it but rather on celebrating its absolute reality.