4 Cups

Haggadah Section: Kadesh

Why do we drink the 4 cups of wine?

a) The Jews were not allowed to drink alcohol in Egypt – so we make up for it now

b) They correspond to the 4 expressions of redemption of the Jewish People from Egypt found in the Torah

c) When your head starts spinning, you gain a sense of how the Egyptians felt during the plagues

d) They correspond to the 4 cups of wine that Pharaoh drank daily in Egypt

e) Wine calms the nerves and is therefore the key to true freedom

The Torah contains 4 expressions of redemption: “I brought you out,” “I saved you,” “I redeemed you,” and “I took you to me as a People.” These correspond to 1) Relief from persecution 2) Ending of slavery, 3) Leaving Egypt 4) Receiving the Torah as a nation onMount Sinai.

Interestingly, Torah is included as a way we became free.

“Torah” literally means “instructions.” The Torah is G-d’s instruction manual to humanity. Cell phones, ipods, laptops – they all come with instructions. Ignore the instructions and you will miss out on a lot. Life too comes with a manual designed to teach us about ourselves - about how to have great relationships, how to achieve meaning, and develop spirituality. True freedom is more than no restrictions, it’s the ability to express our true selves.

Rabbi Simcha Barnett

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