At this point in the Seder, we fill one additional cup and set it aside for the prophet Elijah. Traditionally, Elijah - Eliyahu in Hebrew - will come to herald the coming of the Messiah.
It would be much easier to think that liberation will come because of some outside force - whether it be Elijah, the Messiah, or an idea of inevitable historical progress. But, in some traditions, Elijah's visit to our Seder is to check the work we are doing to build a better world. The Messiah will only come once we have brought peace and justice to the world ourselves, and Elijah is here to see what progress we have made in building a liberated community.
As we open the door for Elijah, we think of the work ahead.
אֵלִיָהוּ הַנָבִיא, אֵלִיָהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי, אֵלִיָהוּ הַגִלְעָדִי בִּמְהֵרָה יָבוֹא אֵלֵינוּ עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד
Eliyahu Hanavi, Eliyahu Hatishbi,
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu Hagiladi.
Bimherah beyameinu, Yavo Elenu
Im Mashiach Ben David,
Im Mashiach Ben David.
Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Giladite, May he soon come to us, with Mashiach the son of David.
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