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Why do we sing about Elijah after the Havdalah Service?

  

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Rabbi Wagner: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...

Janet: Why is it customary to sing Eliyahu Ha-Navi1 at the end of a Havdalah Service?

Rabbi Wagner: There are several reasons for this tradition

Rabbi Wagner: one explanation I've always liked is that there is a discussion in the Talmud about whether Eliyahu can come to herald the redemption on Shabbat2

Rabbi Wagner: therefore as soon as Shabbat is over -- and now there are no "problems" with his coming -- we express our yearning for him to arrive

Janet: cool, thanks!

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Footnotes

  • 1. A hymn about Elijah the Prophet.
  • 2. Traditionally, Elijah will be the one to arrive and announce the arrival of the Messiah.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Messiah
Israel » Messiah

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Havdalah
Prayer signifying the end of the Sabbath or Jewish holiday. This "separation" prayer is recited after nightfall over a cup of wine.