It couldn’t be any simpler or plainer.
From the haftarah for this Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Passover, from Malachi, last of the prophets.
Malachi first lambasts the people
6 For I am the Lord—I have not changed; and you are the children of Jacob—you have not ceased to be. 7 From the very days of your fathers you have turned away from My laws and have not observed them. Turn back to Me, and I will turn back to you—said the Lord of Hosts.
The choice is ours:
19 For lo! That day is at hand, burning like an oven. All the arrogant and all the doers of evil shall be straw, and the day that is coming—said the Lord of Hosts—shall burn them to ashes and leave of them neither stock nor boughs. 20 But for you who revere My name a sun of victory shall rise to bring healing.
Yet, ultimately, in the end, ki l’-olam khasdo, God’s kindness is everlasting:
23 Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. 24 He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.
As I wrote about recently, our Christian co-religionists have concluded that humankind is utterly irredeemable, and only an ultimate sacrifice will do. Our own Jewish tradition takes a different viewpoint. We are indeed obstinate and stubborn. The wicked will ultimately perish. However, God seems determined to not left that happen. Somehow Eliyahu will bring out the best that is in all of us and when it is time for God’s judgment, we will do God proud.
I have a suggestion, however. Let’s not wait for Eliyahu to come to make it happen. At our seders, when we open the door for th prophet, let’s let him in. He’ll be there is we want it to be so.
Ken y’hi ratson. Ken y’hi ratsoneinu.
Shabbat Shalom and a Zissen Pesach,
©2008 by Adrian A. Durlester