The prophet Elijah symbolizes the dreams of the Jewish people. Elijah challenged the injustice of the powerful and overthrew worship of idols. He healed the sick and protected the helpless. At the end of his days, Elijah was carried off to heaven in fiery chariot. The prophet Malachi promised that Elijah will return one day to announce the coming of the Messiah, when all the world will celebrate universal freedom. Legend relates that Elijah returns to earth each day to carry forward the work of bringing justice and peace.
This cup is Elijah's cup. In setting this cup at our table, we invite Elijah to join us, and we bring his passion for justice into our lives. But the cup is empty. No one has yet stepped forward to fill it.
According to Hasidic custom begun at the table of the master Rabbi Naftali of Ropschutz, we pass Elijah's cup from person to person at the table, each person pouring a little wine into Elijah's cup from our own cups, until it is filled. In this way we recognize that we must act together, each contributing our best talents and energies, to bring Elijah's promise to the world. Only through the efforts of our hands will the world be redeemed. We open the door, we stand, and we sing of the Jewish dream of freedom.
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu ha-gee-ladee.
Beem’hay’rah b’yamay’nu Yavo ay’laynu Eem mashiach ben daveed
Legend relates that Elijah enters the world each day in disguise, waiting for someone to do him a simple act of kindness. That one, caring act will trigger the redemption of the world. Where is Elijah? He could be anywhere - with a homeless family living on the street; in the AIDS ward of your local hospital; in a delapidated inner-city kindergarten classroom. He could even be the person sitting beside you right now.
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