Elijah's Visit (re-post)
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I published this children's story on Words Have Wings three years ago (2020), at the beginning of the pandemic. I wrote the story a while back and at the beginning of COVID called on a range of children I know from Israel, grandchildren of friends, former religious school students and some of my grandchildren to illustrate this story about the visit of Elijah the Prophet at s'derim around the world. I am reposting it now, should you wish to use it at your Seder. I hope that you will.
Sending blessings to all of you. Wishing you a meaningful Passover with your family, friends or community.
April 2, 2023
Thank you to the multi-talented and multi-aged illustrators of this online children's story book: (2020)
(Names are in order of the illustrations below.)
Ava S- age 5, Boaz B- age 13, Emily T-age 10, Zohar I-age 7, Noa A-age 10, David B-age 11, Tess J-age 11, Sara J- age 13, Nicole M-age 13, Kobe S-age 8, Ronald S-age 13, Archer K-age 6, Ben R- age 10, Marissa K-age 13, Hadas L-age 10, Gabi A-age 11, Jakie G- age 19, Maya S-age 4
Elijah’s Visit: A Passover Story
Elijah the prophet loves Passover more than anytime of the year. The rest of the year Elijah is very busy. He visits baby’s brisses and helps bring Shabbat to an end when there are three stars in the sky, but Passover is his busiest and most exciting time of the year. Elijah positively beams when Passover arrives because he knows that he will be visiting seders around the world.
At each seder Elijah enters through a door opened especially for him and at each seder, he has a sip of wine from a cup that had his name on it. Elijah knows that the people at the seders cannot not see him, but Elijah can see the people and he is happy to be part of so many celebrations of freedom.
Sometimes Elijah visits homes where big families sit together. People are sitting on folding chairs, sofas and piano stools. Some people are even on the floor with cushy pillows under them. It’s hard to hear over the noise! Elijah slips in the door when someone tells a joke and everyone is laughing hard! Elijah laughs and even hiccups as he drinks from his cup!
Elijah visits seders where children big and small, young and old asked the four questions. At some of these seders he finds his special cup overturned and the tablecloth stained but he understands that kids spill sometimes!
At some seders Elijah enters as the children are still hunting for the Afikoman. Elijah watches with glee as the children hunt under tables, chairs and chests of drawers. They search in high places and low places. Sometimes Elijah is so busy watching the children that he almost forgets to take a sip of his wine!
Elijah visits seders all over the world. In Uganda the wine in his cup is made from bananas and in India the wine in his cup is made of raisins. It is so sweet it makes his nose itch!
When Elijah visits a seder in Iran, beside his cup there are piles of fresh green scallions on the table. He looks on with wide eyes when he sees the children hit their parents during Dayeinu! He hunts in between the many green onions to find his cup and take an oniony sip.
Elijah visits a seder in Ethiopia where the people sit under the light of the round full moon and stars to celebrate Passover. Elijah sips the wine and the breeze blows gently around him.
Elijah sits down at a seder on a kibbutz in Israel and hears calls for freedom when he hears his name called. Elijah drinks deeply from his glass.
Elijah visits a seder in a hospital where people gather with their haggadot around a person lying in a small bed. The person doesn’t lift his head, but nods and smiles as she listens to the story. A plastic cup serves as Elijah’s goblet. Elijah sips the wine carefully and wishes for the good health of the person lying in the bed.
Elijah visits a seder in a place where lots of older people live. They gather around the table, their backs rounded in their wheelchairs, their hair silvery and their eyes dim, but when they sing the Passover songs their eyes light up as they remember seders from long ago. Elijah is proud to be with them and hums along as the people sing. He lifts his cup and salutes them and goes on his way.
Later Elijah watches and drinks some sweet grape juice from a tin cup that soldiers had put out for him as they did sang the four questions in a tent in a desert far away. When the soldiers sing songs of freedom, Elijah understands and nods his head.
Elijah comes to a small basement apartment in a dim hallway and sees a person sitting all by himself, his head bent over his haggadah, dipping his greens in salt water.
Elijah pauses by him for a long moment and keeps him company and later takes a long drink from his cup and sets off.
Elijah visits seders on the tops of tall mountains, in deserts,
in tiny towns and big cities, in basements and on rooftops, by the sea and on farms.
He hears people open doors and call his name using all the languages in the world. Although he cannot speak to the people he hears them call his name and he rushes to seder after seder.
Elijah journeys to one hundred, one thousand synagogues, each with people of all shapes, colors, ages and sizes.
Moms and dads, dads and dads, moms and moms, kids and more kids, grandmothers and grandfathers, uncles and aunts, friends and more friends sit crowded together.
Elijah stands among the people and hears the sound of the songs rising like the roar of the sea.
Elijah happily sings along while he takes sip after sip after sip, never getting tired of sipping the wine. It is Elijah’s busiest and best night of the year and he would not trade it for any other day.
Elijah has one more stop on his Passover journey. He is on the way to your seder soon. He brings with him the hope of freedom for all people. You can help Elijah in his travels. Remember the words of the Haggadah and help others around you. There are many to help; the poor, the elderly, the sick, the hungry and those who are not free. And don’t forget: On Passover make sure Elijah’s cup is full. Open the door for him, call his name out loud and he will visit you too!