A Visit by Elijah the Prophet
TOLD BY SHALOM MOSKOVITZ TO
A Jew from the Land of Israel recounted that once, in a village in Europe, on the day before Passover, a Jew came to one of the householders and asked to be put up for the holiday. The family agreed to perform the precept of hospitality and was glad to host him for the seder.
When the householder filled Kos Eliyahu—the Cup of Elijah the Prophet—just before they recited "Pour out Your fury on the nations,"* the guest fell asleep. Suddenly, the door opened and a tall old man with a long white beard entered, came over to the table, picked up Elijah's Cup, made the blessing over wine, drank, and went out again.
Of course, a fuss broke out at once about how they had had the merit of seeing Elijah the Prophet. The guest, who had fallen asleep before they recited "Pour out Your fury," woke up and asked what the commotion was all about. They told him that they had been granted the privilege of seeing Elijah—that a tall man had entered, drunk from the cup, and left. "Did you ask him for a blessing?" asked the guest. "When you had the merit of seeing Elijah the Prophet it was a propitious time to do so."
"We didn't think of it," they replied, "because we were taken by surprise."
The guest sighed. "What a shame! Had I not fallen asleep I would have known what to ask Elijah. It's too bad that I fell asleep just then." But, he advised them, "Since outside the Land of Israel you have two seders, perhaps Elijah will come again on the night of the second seder. So be alert and pay attention. When Elijah comes again, should you merit that, ask him for some boon."
The whole family waited for the second seder with bated breath. When night came they all sat down together with the guest, who took a place at the corner of the table. They conducted the seder with great joy and waited impatiently for Elijah. When they reached "Pour out Your fury on