Dressing as Elijah & Pouring Out Love

Three customs regarding the seder verses "Pour Out Thy Wrath"

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Afterwards, it is customary to open the door in honor of Elijah the Prophet, and it is fitting to say this while the door is open:

"May the All-merciful send us speedily Elijah the Prophet of blessed memory, and may he tell us good tidings, and salvation. As it is written (Malachi 3:23-24): 'Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet, before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. He shall reconcile parents with children and children with parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.' And it is written (ibid., v. 1): 'Behold, I am sending My messenger to clear the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek shall come to His Temple suddenly. As for the angel of covenant that you desire, he is already coming.'"

This is indeed a beautiful custom, but we now know that this Haggadah, first published by Rabbi Yudl Rosenberg (1859-1935), was also written by R. Yudl Rosenberg, not the Maharal of Prague, as it claimed. This prolific author was also the author of Nifl'ot Maharal, first published in 1909. That work is the main source for the idea that the Maharal created a Golem [a being that became animate through the use of the name of God]. Both works are based on manuscripts supposedly found in the "Royal Library of Metz". The only problem is, that such a library never existed. These works and others were the products of R. Yudl's fertile imagination.

Modern Alternatives 

Some modern Haggadot include an alternative version of Shefokh Hamatkha instead of, or in addition to, the traditional verses.63b

Rabbi Leopold Stein (1810-1882) was a German Reform rabbi who published numerous Reform prayers and prayerbooks over the course of 40 years. In his Seder Ha'avodah, published in Mannheim in 1882, he printed the following instead of Shefokh Hamatkha:

Shefokh ruhakha al kol bassar
V'yavo'u kol ha'amim l'ovdekha
Shekhem ehad v'safah ahat
V'hayta lashem hamelukhah.

Pour out Your spirit on all flesh
May all nations come to serve You
Together in one language
Because the Lord is the Sovereign of Nations.

In Hatza'ah L'Seder, a new Israeli Haggadah published by the staff of the Midrasha at Oranim Teachers' College in 2000, the following addition appears after the three traditional Shefokh verses:

A piyyut which exhibits a different attitude to non-Jews (found in a Haggadah manuscript from the early 16th century):

Shefokh ahavatekha al hagoyim asher yeda'ukha
V'al mamlakhot asher b'shimkha kor'im
Biglal hasadim shehem ossim im zera ya'akov
U'meginim al amekha Yisrael mipi okhleihem
Yizku lirot b'tovat b'hirekha
V'lismoah b'simhat hagekha.

Pour out your love on the nations who know You
And on kingdoms who call Your name.
For the good which they do for the seed of Jacob
And they shield Your people Israel from their enemies.
May they merit to see the good of Your chosen}
And to rejoice in the joy of Your nation.

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Rabbi David Golinkin

Rabbi David Golinkin, Ph.D., is president and rector of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where he teaches Talmud and Jewish law, and he heads the Va'ad Halakhah (committee on Jewish law) of the Masorti, or Conservative, movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel.