One Time a
Kitten Named Elijah Came to the Passover Seder Table to Bring Wisdom
by Bill Cherry
is the first month of the Hebrew calendar, and its relationship to
the Roman calendar is that it falls between the months of March and
April, depending on how that specific lunar year plays out.
The most important holy day to Jews is the 14th day of Nisan. It marks
Passover. Passover's purpose is to celebrate God's deliverance of
His people from the bondage of sin. This historical event is contemplated
by Jews at an evening family meal known as the Seder. It is there
that the discussion and what is served for dinner revolve around what
makes that night different from all other nights.
An irony of Christianity is that Jesus' last supper was a Passover
Seder. The next day He was nailed to the cross, executed in the most
cruel fashion. At that Seder, He told His followers that He would
die so that they would be forgiven for their sins. "He who believes
in me shall have everlasting life," He then promised. So the celebrations
of Passover and Easter have the same theme, God's plan to forgive
His people of their sins.
For the next four hundred Passovers after Jesus died, Christian Jews
and traditional Jews celebrated Passover together. And then the Roman
Empire invented Easter, primarily so that Christian Jews and traditional
Jews would be separated. But many scholars say Passover and Easter
are one and the same, and they use as their proof that every translation
of the Bible except the King James Version, uses "Passover," for the
The main biblical character of Passover is Elijah, who was a very
important Old Testament prophet. With his follower and successor,
Elisha, Elijah performed many miracles. An extra place is always set
at the Seder table for Elijah. It is done with the hopes that he will
come for dinner and news of the coming of the Messiah.
original settlers of the Denver Court subdivision of Galveston made
the neighborhood one that was extremely ecumenical, especially if
you will let me liberalize the definition of ecumenical to include
The Ben Levy family lived two houses from the W.W. Cherrys. Over the
years, my mother brought holiday food to them from her table on Christian
celebration days, and Mrs. Levy would send the Seder meal and wine
to us at Passover.
One Passover evening, my daddy was sitting at the kitchen table by
himself, enjoying the meal Mrs. Levy had sent down, sipping the dark
purple kosher Mogen David wine, contemplating the awesome story of
the Jews being freed from Egyptian slavery, and thinking about the
whole story of Elijah. The door from the kitchen to the screened porch
was open. The newly spring air was peaceful with a hint of the night
blooms of jasmine in the air.
It was then that he heard the meow of a kitten. Staring at him through
the porch's screen door was a hungry and obviously abandoned black
and white kitten.
Daddy brought him in, and in honor of the occasion he had been contemplating
and was celebrating, named the kitten Elijah. He fixed Elijah a small
saucer of Mrs. Levy's food, and the two of them finished celebrating
the Passover Seder together. From that day on, Elijah and Daddy were
inseparable. Wherever Daddy was, Elijah was with him. They even rode
together in Daddy's big Lincoln, the one with the super dooper fancy
leather upholstery. Daddy, as usual, in his impeccable Louis Roth
suit, custom made shirt with his initials embroidered at the waist,
Chanel tie and highly polished Nettleton shoes, and Elijah sitting
up straight in the passenger's seat, ever so elegant.
Now when the real Elijah was reaching the end of his life, a young
field worker named Elisha met up with him one time, and he told Elijah
that he wanted to be just like him, and that he was going to be his
So when Elijah died, God transferred Elijah's miracle powers to his
protege. With that background in mind, for fun my daddy would claim
that all of the knowledge he had, had in reality come from Elijah
the cat. Elijah the cat was the apotheosis; Daddy was his Elisha.
Some years later, Elijah disappeared. Searching the neighborhood turned
up no clues as to where he was or what might have happened to him.
And it wasn't too long thereafter that my daddy passed away unexpectedly
a week before Christmas.
years have neither tempered my thanksgiving for the profound influence
my daddy had on me, nor has it even begun to reduce how much I miss
having him in my daily life.
Sunday, June 20th, was both Father's Day and my birthday. I was by
myself because my wife, with my blessing, had driven to McKinney for
her grandson's birthday party. I sensed that being alone on that day
was going to be difficult. I planned to take flowers to Daddy's grave
and then to go to the eleven o'clock service at the church our family
has been a member of for nearly three-quarters of a century. Afterwards,
it would be Luby's for lunch.
When I opened the church program, I had to grin. It said that the
Bible reading would be from 1 Kings 19, the story of Elijah. Can you
believe it? Passing up going to Luby's, I rushed home and searched
through boxes of snapshots until I found a perfect one of Daddy and
his pal, Elijah. I put it in a frame and placed it on the table next
to my piano, then I fixed a sandwich. It was a perfect birthday.
Cherry's Galveston Memories
3 , 2007 column
Copyright William S. Cherry
All rights reserved
Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist
for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's
Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available
at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
Cherry's Galveston Memories