Cup #5: Elijah's Cup (a.k.a. The Cup of Hope)

The Seder tradition involves pouring a cup for the Hebrew prophet Elijah. In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven.

Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover Seder. For millennia, Jews opened the door for him, inviting him join their Seders, hoping that he would bring with him a messiah to save the world.

Yet the tasks of saving the world - once ascribed to prophets, messiahs and gods - must be taken up by us mere mortals, by common people with shared goals. Working together for progressive change, we can bring about the improvement of the world. For justice and for peace, we can and we must.

Let us now symbolically open the door of our Seder to invite in all people of good will and all those in need to work together with us for a better world. Let us raise our cup as we dedicate ourselves to tikkun olam, the improvement of the world.

[Leader: Open the door.]

Leader says: The world is far from redemption. Pain, injustice, denial of love: since the beginning, humanity has known many degredations. In every generation, there are those who seek to destroy what the world has overcome.

Group says: There has been enslavement and exile. There have been explusions and ghettos and inquisitions. There have been concentration camps.

Leader says: But we were saved. Our story, we have said, begins with degredation and ends with glory. From within and outside of our walls, both Jewish and Non-Jewish alike, martyrs came forth with deeds of justice, love and truth.

Group says: We shall remember. We shall not forget.

Leader says: The world has seen many glories: There have been marriages and children, work and rest, love and laughter. But full glory for all is still far from sight. Ignorance, prejudice, hatred; contempt for truth and justice; hunger and terror; war and the fear of war: these remain a plague to the human race. To end these plagues, we summon Elijah, and we will call him by our deeds.

Group says: Elijah, the herald of reconciliation, who challenged power with the question of justice.

Leader says: And when he comes, the promise of love, peace and freedom will be fulfilled. To the repair of the world.

Everyone says: "L' Tikkun Olam!"

[Everyone: Drink fifth glass of wine.]

haggadah Section: Hallel
Source: Adapted from Lauren Plattman and "Gates of Freedom" Haggadah