Removing the Darkness


Eliyahu Moscowitz A’H was a precious member of our community.  He was a vital and devoted worker at the popular Chicago grocery store, Jewel/Osco.  Eliyahu was killed on Simchas Torah night, by a man dressed in black, with a gun.  He was 24 years old.

Eliyahu ALWAYS had time to say hi, schmooze, ask how you were doing or what you needed.  He looked you in the eye.  So many people reported a feeling of kinship with him.  A real personal connection.  I spoke with the man from the fish department.  He told me Eliyahu’s last words to him were, “I love you.”

On Simchas Torah night, there was a sudden burst of weepy, warm rain.  I kept saying, “This feels significant.”  Nobody wanted to leave shul.  Tiredness overtook me.  I put my sheitel in a bag, put my hood on and said to my family, “Let’s do this!”  We ran home.  The rain gushed—but softly –hard to explain.   We had such joy when we surrendered to it all, and splashed our way home, screaming with delight. 

Looking at it now, the joy reminds me of when Rabbi Akiva saw the Bais Hamikdosh destroyed, with foxes walking where the Kodesh Hakodashim used to be.  He laughed—though everybody else saw the bad side of the situation, he understood that because of this, the Third Temple would come.  He rejoiced from the emes of our Torah and Neviim, and knew that although sometimes we as individuals or as a nation fall, ultimately we are “banim lamakom”, and will always be loved by Hashem.  He knew that one day, we would be closer to Him than we can ever imagine, in the times of the binyan Bayis Shlishi/the rebuilding of the Third Temple, may it be NOW!

I had several calls from women wanting to get together and talk.  Wondering what we are supposed to do with this.  Wanting to help make sense of this.  Wanting to know how to face Eliyahu’s family.  Wanting to protest and make Moshiach come NOW!

Late on Motzei Chag, I received a call from a very spiritual friend in another city. She wanted to know details about the case, and to share with me her intuitive “hits”.  What she said resonated deeply:

She said that the gunman, dressed in black, represents the darkness in the world.  It is our job to remove the darkness before Moshiach comes.  Eliyahu represents Eliyahu Hanavi, who will announce Moshiach’s coming. 

I took her words to heart, and spent the next morning talking at length with another friend.  What we came to is that darkness itself has no power.  The guy was dressed in black, with his face covered, as if he was scared to show his face.  What a wimp!

This is my new mantra: Darkness is not powerful.  Evil lurks because it has no guts to come out and show its face.  Here’s us—scared of the monsters in the closet, but what we have never thought of is why, if the monsters have power, are they hiding in the closet?  Let’s call a spade a spade, and stop being afraid.  Yeaaaaaah.   When I think in this way, I feel empowered.  And that is what I feel we need now.  Power.  To fight off the last of this Golus.  Together.  United.  With love and strength.  With the sweetness of Eliyahu.  Light is way more powerful than darkness.  A tiny flame dispels the darkest of dark. 

May the blood of sweet Eliyahu be avenged, and may we share in Geula immediately!


A Poem, for Eliyahu

Simchas Torah 5779


We walked home in the rain

It felt like tears

I didn’t know why


I didn’t know you were lying in the rain

Returning your soul to your Maker

The biggest Simcha

For you


Eliyahu.  Eliyahu.  Eliyahu.

I barely knew you but every time I saw you

You warmed my heart

You reached me in a place reserved

For my near and dear


You reach me now

Deeper than ever

Your sweetness

Your gentleness

Your warmth

Your love


I feel your absence

With debilitating sadness

And anger!

We could not afford

To lose you


You looked at me deeply

On Shmini Atzeres

I felt a stirring

Did you want to tell me something?


I commit to finding out

I commit to keeping my heart open

I commit to keeping your warm smile alive

I recommit to helping reveal Moshiach


Sweet sweet Eliyahu

The angels of Heaven

Get to enjoy you now

Your ancestors lucky to be with you


I understand why the entire sky filled with tears

On Simchas Torah night

Happy for them, crying for us

The tears washed the earth

Giving us a head start


For our vital job

Of washing this earth

Removing darkness

You showed us the way

You gave us your life


Your murderer yemach shemo

Dressed in black


Because he is nothing

He has no power

He will be removed without a trace

Vanished as your goodness fills the earth


Enjoy this part of your journey

Sweet sweet neshama

Bask in Gan Eden

Bathe in the heavenly tears


Dance in the rain.