Suicide Prevention at the Seder Table


On the night of the seder, Elijah the Prophet plays Santa Claus (well, those aren’t the exact words) hopping from one seder to the next, visiting every matzah-crumby table and sipping wine left out for him. But Elijah isn’t all jolly: in the Bible he goes through a really tough time. Tormented and threatened by Jezebel, he finally cries out to God, “I have had enough — let me die! I have dreams, goals and values that I will never achieve. What reason is there for me to live?” You might expect that God would respond with a bolt of lightning, or a cavern swallowing him up, but instead God responds with a “still small voice” and Elijah is reassured. He lives.

With Elijah’s biblical journey in mind, a New Yorker named Efrem Epstein founded Elijah’s Journey: A Jewish Response to Suicide, which helps those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, while destigmatizing mental illness. This year Elijah’s Journey published a seder supplement to read when you come to Elijah’s cup. It reminds everyone that saving a life can be as simple as being the still small voice that says, “I’m here to listen.” “You are important to me.” “I care about you.”

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