Only One Guest

Only one guest will come to Seder this year. All the others who are usually at the table will not show. They are required to stay home.

But he will come. He never misses.

Elijah. Eliyahu Ha-Navi.

After the meal is over, deep into the second part of the night, we will open the door … and there he will be. His silent, reassuring presence will cross the threshold.

He is the one guest who is a constant. Even in years of devastation and gloom, Elijah always makes it. Even when it’s too dangerous for anybody else, Elijah turns up.

He came to Seder under Roman brutality; he appeared during the Inquisition; through every pogrom, he never skipped; he even slipped in past the guards at Auschwitz.

He will come today.

Elie Wiesel wrote these words about our cherished Pesach visitor:

“Elijah is friend and companion to all who need friendship and comfort. He is the mysterious stranger who arrives at precisely the right moment, to bring hope to those in despair … He records every tragic event, every upheaval, every tear; thanks to him nothing is lost … One day he will come to stay, and on that day, he will accompany the Messiah, with whose destiny he is linked.”


Yes, Elijah brings the vision of a better tomorrow at a time when we sorely need it. How does he achieve this in every age? Elijah reminds us that just as we were redeemed from the misery of Egypt, so the day will come when we will see a world where hope shines bright for all.

This Seder night, may Elijah’s promise once again be a point of light in the darkness.

Rabbi Danny Schiff

If you have thoughts or reactions in connection with this piece, I would be pleased to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below or continue the conversation by contacting me directly at [email protected].

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