It was at the specific moment in the Pesach seder when the door was opened to receive Elijah the Prophet, a messianic messenger, with the awaited hope of receiving his good news.
The wine goblet was filled to the brim (Bartenura wine) in the center of the table ready for the prophet to take his annual sip. After sipping at some ten million Jewish homes it is astonishing that he could find his way to my home.
As he walked in, we could not shake hands, he said, because of the dread coronavirus pandemic.
“Can’t you do something to end it”? I asked. And he replied, “I’m only a prophet. I am not God”.
He appeared tired from his worldly travels and I invited him to sit at the table with us. His fingers tapped on the plate of Aviv matzot and he gathered a few of the broken crumbs to be washed down with the wine.
“What news have you brought us?” I asked. “Will we succeed in having a unity government?”
“I am a prophet, not a politician”, he replied. “Unlike them, my hands and my tongue are clean”.
But then he continued to share disappointments of Netanyahu’s right-wing partners for being denied the top ministerial posts they had wanted and even demanded.
They accused their Likud leader of falling into the uncanny trap of Benny Gantz, ex-leader of the Blue and White party. A unity government was unlikely to be signed before the Passover holiday. Maybe also after the holiday. Who knows? Not even prophet Elijah.
He shared news of the shutdown of all traffic on national highways. Nary a car was to be seen in sight.
And when he spoke of a national lockdown he informed us that even the residents of the prime minister’s state residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour street will be included in the lockdown. Neither the prime minister nor any members of his family or staff will be permitted to leave the building.
“How long will that restriction be in effect”? I asked. “No one knows for sure”, he answered, “but probably until the end of 2021 when Mister Gantz will sit in the prime minister’s chair”.
Meanwhile there will be no action on annexation of parts of the West Bank or the Jordan Valley.
The American president Trump, Russia’s Putin, France’s Macron, Germany’s Merkel, and from his hospital bed, Britain’s Boris Johnson, will not accept Israeli annexation of parts of land being assured to form a future Palestinian state.
The Knesset will not be called back into session to debate it. The truth is that a weak Israel cannot defy the nations of the world upon whom they rely. A compromise must be found. And guess who found it?
“Let us be reasonable and find a compromise. Let us compromise and do it my way”, said Netanyahu.
Elijah the prophet shook his head and took two more sips of the kosher red wine. He closed his eyes as if in slumber but his mind was awake and keen. After all, prophets, like Almighty God, neither slumber nor sleep.
When the goblet of wine was emptied and the last of the matzah crumbs cleared away, Elijah stood up and reminded us that he had a few more million homes to visit. He thanked us for the hospitality and he wished us a “chag haPesach kasher v’samayach”, a happy and kosher Pesach.
I, in response, wished him a “zeesen un a gezunt yomtov”…. A sweet and a healthy holiday.
As the door had opened to admit him, it was now closed as he made his departure.
I looked at my daughter and I asked her “was it real? Was Elijah the prophet really here or was it a dream?”
And she replied, “abba… put down the wine goblet. It is already your fourth cup”.
But dreams on Pesach are memorable and will linger throughout the eight days of the festival…and maybe even beyond.