This story is about a man who is looking to have an encounter with the great Eliyahu HaNavi, but eventually finds greatness in himself.
Not too long ago, a man, let's call him Avraham, went to his Rebbi and said Rebbi, I just HAVE to meet Eliyahu HaNavi. The Rebbi said, that’s not easy, I can't just arrange a meeting. It'll take some time and effort! Are you willing to follow my instructions? Rebbi, I'll do whatever you tell me to do, I need to meet him! Ok, tomorrow is Erev Rosh HaShana. Pack a massive pack full of food for the holiday and travel to a deep part of the nearby woods. You'll meet him there.
Avraham packed his stuff and traveled to the woods, where he stumbled upon an old, broken down shack. As he approached the door, he heard children crying inside-Imma, we’re hungry! Imma, we need food! Not knowing what he was supposed to be doing in the forest and with Rosh HaShana quickly approaching, Avraham decides to knock on the door and share his huge pack of food with the family, asking if they'll host him for the holiday. He knocks, the mother opens the door, he makes his request and unpacks the food. The kids, almost starving can't believe their eyes-they eat as much as they can with much more left over for the holiday. He spends a nice Rosh HaShana with them, leaves and comes back to the Rebbi.
Rebbi, Avraham says, I did what you said but I didn't meet Eliyahu HaNavi! I know, the Rebbi said. You must go back for Shabbat Shuva. Again, bring food, again go to the same part of the woods. Avraham listens, and the same thing happens again. The food that he has brought by Rosh HaShana had been finished, and the kids needed the new round of food just as badly. After a wonderful Shabbat, Avraham leaves the shack and goes back to the Rebbi-I still haven't met Eliyahu HaNavi, and I've followed your instructions to the letter! The Rebbi says, go back one more time, early in the morning on Erev Yom Kippur.
Avraham packs a sack full of food and sets off for the forest. He arrives, looks around, and sees no Navi. Upset and disappointed, he approaches the shack and is about to knock when he hears one of the kids ask their mother-how will we prepare for the fast tonight? We have no food! And the mother responds, don't worry. Eliyahu HaNavi will come this time just as he did for Rosh HaShana and go Shabbat.
Often, we look for external experiences to inspire us. We’re looking to meet Eliyahu HaNavi and feel the power we’ve seen around us. But we don't understand that every person has the power to inspire themselves. When that happens, worlds explode. Over this shabbaton, you heard from fellow NCSYers about a topic that was meaningful to them, that they worked on and shared with you. You weighed difficult decisions that come up all the time with yourself or with friends and family, and appreciated the fact that different people have different responses and different perspectives. You took time to consider what you could gain from the right gap year program, or how to best prepare yourself for the college experience. Life doesn't come with instructions included; you get to become the person you want to be, and inspire others to follow your example. And that's what NCSY is all about.
Submitted by Jeanette Eliezer