We open the door at Shfoch chamatcha. I have heard that it is to invite Eliyahu, or to show a lack of worry on a leil shimurim. But would it be acceptable to open the door before ha lachma anya, when we invite people to join us? This has (AFAIK) not developed as a minhag but is there a reason not to? Should we not be making that offer sincerely?

(h/t my dad)

  • 1
    If the weather isn't good, you might get cold or hot (and waste energy) if you leave it open the whole time.
    – Heshy
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 14:19
  • @Heshy I think he meant for the duration of ha lachma anya, not the duration of the whole seder. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 14:53
  • I don't think you'll get an answer for this one. Opening the door for Eliyahu is minhag AFAIK. If you think about it, if Eliyahu really came to your home and found the door locked, I think he would knock, anyway, rather than go somewhere else and wait for them to open the door (BTW, Eliyahu is a wonderful guy, even if he is quite old ;-) Point is, if there's no place forbidding this, explicitly, then why should this be a problem?
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 14:58
  • @DanF 'Point is, if there's no place forbidding this, explicitly, then why should this be a problem?' There is probably nothing wrong with opening the door for no reason, but if you're doing it for the reason that it seems like a good minhag to create, well, then you might run into whatever problems occur with deciding to 'create new minhagim'. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 19:12
  • Side note, regarding your last line about taking Ha Lachma Anya sincerely, there are definitely opinions that interpret that piece in a non-literal manner. One opinion (unfortunately I don't know who offhand), says that this piece is a sort of 'secret lament' for not having the Bais Hamikdash, since in the times of the Temple, you were not able to invite someone on the spot to the Korban Pesach, they had to be registered in advance. Showing that you can invite people on the spot is a way to remind us of what we are missing. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


Your question boils down to two parts:

  1. Is there a problem with opening the door at that time?

I have not stumbled upon any source that says that your door must be locked and closed for the entirety of the Seder.

  1. Why don't we open the door at Ha Lachma Anya when we invite people in, saying "Kol Dichfin Yeisei Veyeichol"?

This (excellent IMHO) question is addressed by Rav Yaakov Shapira (here), and he quotes Rav Kook in Olas Reiyah, that we obviously need to invite guests earlier on than Ha Lachma Anya, but we are just emphasizing a major point that we gained from Yetzias Mitzrayim, which was the Middah of Chessed:

הרב זצ'ל (עולת ראיה ח'ב עמ' רסב-רסד) מסביר שאין הכוונה באמירה להזמין אורח בפועל, את זה באמת צריך לעשות קודם לכן. אלא הכוונה להבליט את הנקודה המרכזית שקבלנו ביציאת מצרים, את מידת החסד.

Based on this, the reason why we don't open the door at this time is because we don't expect anyone to be coming at this point, we are just making this declaration about our earlier feelings, but not actually making an announcement to everyone to come in at this time. Therefore, there is no significant reason to open the door at this time any more than any other time.

Why we open for Shefoch Chamascha is (in my opinion) another, totally different question, which if I do not find on MY, I will ask.


This article (footnote 40) assumes that there used to be a minhag to open earlier.

[A recently published] manuscript from Rabbi Yuzpeh Shamash (1604-1678) of Worms...writes that it was the custom in Worms at the beginning of the seder to pour one extra cup of wine. Just as we say in the Haggadah, “Kol dichfin yesev v’yachul,” we prepare a glass for the guest who might come. This glass is called Kos Shel Eliyahu since this is the guest we await.

The author assumes that due to the connections between opening the door and Eliyahu (see the article for details), they must have opened the door at this point, when the cup of Eliyahu is poured.

So you see there might have existed such a minhag, but the minhag has developed to do it at the later part of the Seder. I would imagine it wouldn't be proper to do it earlier today, but I'm not a posek. I'm just saying it's called a seder (order) for a reason. It's best to do things in the order normally practiced.

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