Elijah's Cup

We drink four cups of wine remembering the four promises of redemption that were fulfilled for our ancestors.

But we have a fifth cup at our seder - a cup we don't yet drink. A cup representing the incomplete state of our redemption. A cup representing the brokenness of the world we live in, a cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced persons around the world, a cup for Israel that's not yet at peace. And the way we fill that fifth cup is by passing it around the table, and everyone adds something from their own cup - symbolizing how the future redemption will not come in some supernatural way, but rather it's our communal responsibility, we must all contribute to the redemption of the world.

Traditionally the youngest at the table, the most innocent, opens the door for Elijah, and we sing a song calling for Elijah to come speedily, in our days, with the messiah son of David.

Eliyahu Ha-navee

Eliyahu Ha-tish-bee

Eliyahu, Eliyahu

Eliyahu Ha-giladee

Bim Heira B’yameinu Yavo eileinu

Eem mashiah ben David

Eem mashiah ben David

The traditional wording in the siddur at this point reads:

שְׁפֹךְ חֲמָתְךָ אֶל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדָעוּךָ וְעַל מַמְלָכוֹת אֲשֶׁר בְּשִׁמְךָ לֹא קָרָאוּ. כִּי אָכַל אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת נָוֵהוּ הֵשַׁמוּ. שְׁפֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעְמֶךָ וַחֲרוֹן אַפְּךָ יַשִׂיגֵם. תִּרְדֹף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי יי.

Shfoch chamatcha el hagoyim asher lo y’da’ucha v’al mamlachot asher b’shimcha lo kara’u. Ki achal et Ya’akov v’et naveihu heishamu. Shfoch Aleihem zamech vacharon apcha yasigaim. Tirdof b’af v’tashmidaim mitachat shmay Adonai.

“Pour out your fury on the nations that do not know you, upon the kingdoms that do not invoke your name, they have devoured Jacob and desolated his home.” (Ps. 79:6,7) “Pour out your wrath on them; may your blazing anger overtake them.” (Ps. 69.25) “Pursue them in wrath and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord!” (Lam. 3:66)

But we prefer to call on God to pour out Her love into the world, to draw all close, to remove hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, not to destroy the wicked but to guide the wicked so their hearts will turn from evil to good, from dark to light, from despair to hope.

haggadah Section: Bareich