Follow Elijah at www.ElijahTracker.com.
When people hear the name “Elijah” – they may think of the Passover seder (meal), perhaps an open door, or a cup of wine. That’s because there’s a Jewish tradition of opening the door to one’s house during Passover for Elijah and even leaving a cup of wine on the table for himto “drink.”
Elijah’s actually a bit more complicated, even mysterious.
Elijah appears in the Book of Kings in the Bible; there he was a prophet in Israel (scholars would say it was around the 9th century BCE). Elijah is a character in several biblical stories (warning the king about an impending drought, traveling in his chariot, resuscitating a child, challenging the prophets of Baal) and in a lot of later literature as well.
In rabbinic literature, Elijah is a harbinger of the redemption of Israel. In the Talmud (codified in 500 CE) and in post-Talmudic literature, Elijah is an active partner of the messiah. In midrashim (Jewish legends), Elijah and the messiah work together to record people’s good deeds. In later folklore, Elijah is someone sent from the heavens to fight against social injustices.
Here at OurJewishCommunity.org, we read all of those stories as legends. They show the boldness and creativity of our ancestors. And some of us choose to hold on to some traditions associated with Elijah (like opening the door at the seder meal or having a symbolic Elijah’s chair at a baby naming).
Just as our ancestors have put their spin on Elijah for many years, we at OurJewishCommunity.org are adding to the creative traditions about Elijah.
We’ve created what we believe to be the world’s first Elijah Tracker. Yes, it’s modeled on the concept of a Santa Tracker. But, it’s the Passover version.
Starting on the first night of Passover, you’ll be able to track Elijah’s journeys around the world. He’ll go to several cities (even in different countries!) each day for the entire week of Passover. You won’t want to miss the stories and photos.
To get updates on Elijah’s whereabouts, follow him @ElijahTracker. For more information, visit OurJewishCommunity.org.