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
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
I feel your absence
With debilitating sadness
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
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.