The Four Cups of Wine By Natalie Gerber

The four cups of wine that we drink throughout the Seder represent the four steps of redemption that God tells Moses to tell the Israelites as His promise to them.

There is actually a fifth step to redemption - "And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’” (Exodus 6:8). It is often thought that the cup of Elijah represents this fifth step to the ultimate redemption.  At our seder, we have the tradition of passing the cup of Elijah around and having everyone pour of bit of wine from their own cup into Elijah's cup.  As we pass the cup around, my father reminds everyone that each one of us must play a role in making the redemption come to life. 

As you drink each cup of wine, think about what these various steps of redemption mean to you. What was it like to be slave in Egypt dreaming of freedom? What does it mean for the world today and the freedom that we all seek in our lives and in the lives of those suffering around the world?

haggadah Section: Kadesh