- October 25, 1999 at 12:00 am #10315
I believe it a custom of Jewish origin to set an extra place at the table so there is a place for Elijah to sit and eat, should he come. My general understanding is that it is a custom having to do with hospitality, but I would like to know more. Can anyone help?
User Detail :Name : David G., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Disability : Learning Disability, diabetes, others as well, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Unitarian Universalist, City : Snowflake, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Minister, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, October 27, 1999 at 12:00 am #15949
The customs vary somewhat, but generally it is accepted that Elijah’s spirit will visit at every Pesah (Passover) seder. For me, the custom I follow is to leave a door open for him to come. Others may set an extra place setting, but I’m not specifically aware of it.
User Detail :Name : Jesse-N30784, Gender : M, Religion : Jewish, Age : 40, City : Herzliya, State : NA Country : Israel, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, October 28, 1999 at 12:00 am #15289
I’ve never heard about Elijah, but leaving one place free is not only custom of Jewish. I’m a Catholic and in my family we are used to leaving one place for a quest. Unfortunately noone univited haven’t come. In Poland it is very common especially in X-mas to prepare a meal for someone.
User Detail :Name : Bartek M., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 21, City : Warsaw, State : NA Country : Poland, Occupation : student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, October 30, 1999 at 12:00 am #28001
This is a custom of the Passover seder ( the order of the retelling of the exodus and the meal eaten at that time). The proper way is not to set a place, but to pour a glass of wine. At the directed time the door of the house is opened and Elijah is invited in. Since Elijah is traditionaly supposed to announce the messiah we hope that this year he will make the announcement. He is therefore invited in and visits every jewish household to take a sip of wine at the seder. As an extra note, a chair is left empty at every bris (circumcision ceremony) for Elijah. Since he will announce the messiah he is invited to every bris in case that child is the messiah.
User Detail :Name : Steve-R, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 52, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Lawyer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, February 5, 2000 at 12:00 am #35934
I would add that the extra place setting idea is also related to the extra seat that is set in the Sukkah (booth) at the Autumn holiday of Sukkot. It is left with the idea that our revered ancestors might “join” us – Abraham/Sarah (They were known for their welcoming of the stranger-angels in the desert.); Isaac/Rebecca (She was chosen as his wife because of her kinship and hospitality.); Jacob/Leah and Rachel (The girls’ father’s hospitality was somewhat dubious, but eventually came out in Jacob’s favor!) Also, an extra place is often set at the Passover table because we are instructed to welcome in anyone who wishes to join us for that meal. Many Orthodox families make a special effort to have someone less fortunate (or sometimes less informed about their heritage) join them. Synagogues often sponsor community seders (dinners) so that everyone can have the opportunity to observe this important event.
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