One of the most memorable and favorite parts of almost any Seder is when a young person is sent to open a door for the Prophet Elijah. How many times does one of the guests enter the doorway to a roomful of giggles.
By the time we send a child to the door, it is already late and participants are eager for the Seder to conclude. It is rare those gathered take a moment to ponder the true meaning of this unique ritual.
Traditionally, the prophet Elijah is to return to earth in order to announce the coming of the Messiah. That is all fine well and good but we are not Orthodox. As Reform Jews, we do not believe in the coming of a Messiah. Instead, we see the mitzvah of ‘tikun olam’ (repair of the world) as the path to creating a Messianic Kingdom for all who inhabit the earth. We take the biblical prerogative of being a ‘light unto the nations’ to be at the heart of our spiritual motivation. In Judaism, there is a fine line, if any line at all, between faith and action.
Hence, when we send that child to the door, we are hoping that the spirit of Elijah will enter to inspire all assembles\d to greater acts of tzedakah and gemilut chesed (charity and loving kindness). As we sing, bimheira v’yameinu (come speedily in our day), we are reminded to make the words of our Seder action points for a better world.
Rabbi Harvey Winokur