Eliyahu and Miriam

Haggadah Section: Bareich

By placing a cup of wine on the seder table and opening the door after our meal, we recognize that when the Messiah returns- just as Yochanan was an Elijah-type announcing his first coming - there will come before him the prophet Elijah to announce the coming of redemption of all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 3:23-24

Fill the cup of Elijah until it overflows, then the youngest child present will open the door to let Elijah in - calling out to see if he has arrived. Then we all sing together:

Eliyahu Hanavi, Eliyahu hatishbi, Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi.

Bimheirah b'yamenu, yavo aylenu, Im Mashiach ben-David, Im Mashiach ben-David

Eliyahu Hanavi, Eliyahu hatishbi, Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi.

Bimheirah b'yamenu, yavo aylenu, Im Mashiach ben-David, Im Mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning man of Gilad: return to us speedily, in our days with the messiah, son of David.

After commemorating the very first redemption of the Hebrew people from Egypt, we express our hope and firm belief in the coming of Moshiach ben David, who will usher in the new and final redemption very very soon.

Where Elijah represents the movement of history and path to redemption, Miriam represents ongoing healing, renewal and sustenance on the journey. Miriam is beginning, Elijah is end. Miriam is present, Elijah is future. Miriam is place, Elijah is time. Miriam is the sea, Elijah is the mountain.

Legend says that fresh water miraculously followed Miriam as the Hebrews traveled through the desert, providing them with sustenance. God gave this gift to Miriam, the prophetess, to honor her bravery and devotion to the Hebrew people.

We fill Miriam's cup with water to honor her role in ensuring the survival of our people. Like Miriam, Hebrew women in all generations have been essential for the continuity of our people. As keepers of traditions in the home, women sustained their families and kept rituals and recipes alive in songs and stories from mother to daughter, from generation to generation.We place Miriam's cup on our Seder table to honor the important role of women in our tradition and history, whose stories have been too sparingly told. For Miriam we lift our water glasses and say:

Zot be'er Miriam kos mayim chayam.

This is the well of Miriam, the cup of living waters.

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