The Cup of Elijah
We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.
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.
אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי,
אֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי.
בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ
עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד,
עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד.
Eliyahu hanavi Eliyahu hatishbi Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu Im mashiach ben-David, Im mashiach ben-David
Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad: return to us speedily, in our days with the messiah, son of David.
We know, though, that all are not yet free. As we welcome Elijah the Prophet into our homes, we offer a fifth cup, a cup not yet consumed.
A fifth cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free — from the refugee camps in Chad to the cities and towns of Ukraine, for the Syrian refugees still waiting to be delivered from the hands of tyrants, for the thousands of asylum seekers in the United States still waiting in detention for redemption to come, for all those who yearn to be taken in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.
This Passover, let us walk in the footsteps of the One who delivered us from bondage. When we rise from our Seder tables, may we be emboldened to take action on behalf of the world’s refugees, hastening Elijah’s arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.
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