Elijah was one of the greatest prophets in Jewish history, and, most notably, he did not die! Rather, he rose to the heavens in a chariot of fire! Because he did not die, Rabbinic scholars believed he was kept alive for a special reason - to hail the arrival of the Messiah! So Elijah will have a extremely important job - but why invite him into our house tonight? We live in an unprecedented time in Jewish history - Jews of North America live in freedom with the full protection of the law. Israel has been resurrected as a Jewish State. We tend to take these things for granted. We forget that for thousands of years Jews lived without a home or security. From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the Cossacks of Russia, to the Holocaust, Jews were beaten, tortured, killed, denied the right to live with security and freedom, and yearned for the return to the Land of Israel. The Night of the Seder, which celebrates the freedom of the Jews from their enslavers in Egypt, served as a symbol for all Jews that they might be redeemed again. Thus, they invited Elijah into their homes in hopes that he would heard the coming of the Messiah, and their salvation from their lives of persecution.

haggadah Section: Bareich