As I look forward to the start of Passover this Monday evening, I remember very clearly the Seder at my grandparents’ home. I can picture the people seated around the table and who sat where each year. I sat between my grandfather and my father, as my grandfather led the Seder. I recall that it felt very long, and other than a few songs that I knew from Hebrew School, the Seder didn’t have a lot of meaning for me.
So many years later, and now I, like many of you, sit in that same “seat” as my grandfather, leading the Seder and trying to engage both children and adults in our oldest ritual.
And I will again relate the history of the red glass Kiddush Cup that will be placed in the middle of the table. I will tell of how it was one of the first objects that my grandfather acquired when he came to this country, and how it has served as the Cup of Elijah for these many years.
Elijah was a prophet in ancient Israel, known for his acts of loving-kindness. We have believed throughout our history that he will yet again appear in the world at Passover time, and that with his appearance, there will come a time of peace and wholeness for all the people of our world.
One of my favorite Jewish stories (you might use it at your Seder) tells of a little boy who, toward the end of the Seder, was asked by his grandfather to go and open the door for Elijah. The little boy went to the door and suddenly became frightened. He turned to his grandfather and said: “I’m scared. I don’t know what Elijah will look like!” And the grandfather assuredly said to the child: “Don’t be afraid to open the door. When Elijah really does come, he will not come through the door, but through your heart.”
As we celebrate our Festival of Freedom, may we be mindful of all our blessings. And may Passover lead us to be more caring and more generous in responding to the great human need that exists not only in far-off places. And please remember that what you do at your Seder table will long be remembered.
I wish you a sweet and fulfilling Passover.