There is an empty cup sitting in the middle of the table and an empty chair at the table. Both of these are reserved for Elijah. Towards the end of the Seder we pour another cup of wine, this makes #4 and yes, you can handle it. We pour another cup and set it in the middle of the table—it’s for Elijah the Prophet.
It is now tradition to send the youngest male to open the front door to welcome Elijah. Our son Raun was the youngest male for a bit, but as we included friends and family in our Seder, this responsibility moves from child to child. This year Chase, Raun’s son and Liam, our daughter’s two year old will be assigned this task together. I’m expecting that Liam will walk out the door given half the chance.
Why Elijah? Elijah the prophet comes to announce the imminent arrival of the final Exodus. This night is a night of protection. This night, we are not afraid of anything, for we are carried securely in His holy, gentle hand. We open the door in the middle of the night and we show that confidence, that deep trust that no harm will befall us. On that very first night of Passover in Egypt, we were redeemed on the merit of our trust that He would redeem us. Tonight, we will be liberated from this Egypt of the soul. Again, we must show our trust. Whatever He tells us to do, He does Himself. He told us to open our door on the night of Passover. So, tonight, He opens every door.
The conversation among the adults seating around the table is always the same during this act. Someone inevitably says, “What will we do if Elijah shows up?” Followed by, “Can I drink his wine?”