Are You My Teacher?

First, I saw his face, and then I noticed the long white beard that covered most of his face. I was transfixed; I could barely breathe. The closer he got, the more details emerged. He was as tall as me and was dressed in a long white cotton gown. He stopped a few steps in front of me, his eyes closed; his face radiated eminence, divinity, glory. As we faced each other, a sensation of other worldliness ran through my entire body.

This person’s presence electrified me. He radiated so much energy and such power, and yet he seemed clothed in calmness. I was shocked, as if I had been hit by lightning. For the first time I experienced the full meaning of “irat kavod,” a Hebrew phrase that might translate loosely as “fearful respect”: I was filled with immense respect for this man, yet felt deeply humble and just a little afraid. Never before had I experienced emotions such as this in the presence of another person.

He slowly raised his head, his long white hair gracefully framing his majestic face. He opened his eyes and looked straight into mine. He didn’t move or say a word. I was completely mesmerized as he stood looking at me. It took me a while to regain my senses. The experience was too much to absorb and I felt overwhelmed. All I wanted was to get out of there, but I couldn’t move.

After what seemed like forever, I somehow found the courage to speak. “Are you my teacher?” I asked.

“Yes, I am,” he replied.

His presence was overpowering. His energy engulfed me. I wanted to leave, but I suddenly remembered that I had another question to ask him. “Do you have a message for the group?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Tell them that there is heaven.”

I felt relieved as I turned around to leave. But his trembling voice stopped me.

“And tell them that everyone has a guardian angel,” he said.

I looked at him for a moment, and with what little presence of mind I had left, I thanked him.

Spellbound, I started to walk away and then it struck me—my Teacher was Elijah, the great Prophet, the same Elijah who had been taken up in a whirlwind by a chariot and horses of fire into heaven. He had lived on Mount Carmel in northern Israel.

This is how Elijah and I met for the first time. After that meeting, and every time I journey to meet Elijah, I experience that same powerful feeling again. I know I am standing in the presence of a higher power; this holy person shows me my real place in this world and in the universe.

In all our conversations, I ask Elijah questions that are related to our existence and our purpose in life. Some are philosophical while some are personal. Even though our talks are short and to the point, each one is interesting and utterly meaningful.

Elijah is not effusive. Words of timeless wisdom break from his lips. He doesn’t contribute additional information unless I ask for it. With Elijah, I can choose the direction we walk and the depth of our discussion. Every conversation is entirely unpredictable. Most of the time, Elijah is very serious; I’m never able to predict his mood or reaction to my questions. Sometimes, he is impatient; at other times, he is cynical. Rarely does he smile. Whenever I need advice, he is there for me.

Most of my journeys are to the Lower World—to Dolphin and Hilla. I also journey for friends and family, at their request, to receive answers about jobs and other subjects. But when philosophical questions arise, I journey to the Upper World—to Elijah.

I have had many journeys to the Lower World, to Dolphin and to Hilla, and for some reason, there are some things I never ask them about. Sometimes they decide it would be better for Elijah to reply to my inquiries.

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