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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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Comforting Elijah

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He sits worn out and dejected. His face looks older than it must. A veil over the face of G-d’s appointed and holy prophet Something doesn’t appear right.

His eyes down towards the ground His mouth in a frown The spirit sucked out of him The energy and zeal gone.

I sit down next to the dear prophet Elijah And quietly smile at him. He glances at me with an expression of gratitude. It is time to take him out of his abyss.

He explains to me that the People of Israel have forsaken G-d’s covenant And that he is the only one who is left. He is under the threat of death by Jezebel on top of that.

So he wants G-d to take his life.

I listen quietly. I try to empathize. I attempt to understand even though it is difficult. I offer him support.

I say, “Dear Elijah, The prophet who has given so much to the People of Israel, The world needs you The world deserves you You deserve the world You deserve to live.”

“You were created in the image of G-d. Betzelem Elokim. You were put on this earth For a purpose And you are worthy of life. Suicide is not the answer.”

I walk with him to the nearby stream And urge that he gaze at his reflection. I say, “Look at yourself. You have a piece of G-d in you. You are special and unique. Removing your presence from the earth Would remove that spiritual light That you can give to the world.”

“G-d believes in you. G-d is with you. He knows that you can make it. I beg you You must stay alive.”

I sit by Elijah supportively As an angel arrives And pushes Elijah to eat and drink He seeks to take Elijah out of his lethargy.

Elijah falls asleep again Returning to his depressive lack of vitality.

But G-d doesn’t give up On those with psychological distress. The messenger of G-d returns And urges Elijah to eat and drink again Explaining That he needs the energy for his journey.

Elijah’s vitality begins to return. I sit by him and offer words of encouragement As the life begins to return to him.

He rises and prepares to leave With no more thoughts of death.

I wish him farewell And remind him That life is beautiful And is infused with godliness and blessings.

And that he is as well.

He thanks me For my support During his time of crisis.

I thank him For allowing me to help him And for showing me that Although people have suffered From mental health problems in the Tanach, Judaism does not discriminate against them.

G-d and the Jewish religion Are compassionate To those who experience psychological turmoil.

After this encounter I return to the Jewish community of the twenty-first century. And inform those in it That G-d will shine his face And support those Whose minds suffer as the body sometimes does.

I say
That Judaism advocates the healing of the body
And of the soul.
And that we should advocate for it
Because G-d does.
As He has done with Elijah.

About the Author: Eliana Yashgur is a student at Hebrew High School of New England

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