All Jewish celebrations involve wine. The Torah tells us four times to recount the story of our redemption from slavery, and we will drink wine four times during the course of this Seder. There are many explanations for this custom. They represent, some have said, the four corners of the earth, for freedom must reign everywhere; the four seasons of the year, for freedom must be guarded at all times; the four empires that oppressed us in days of old, for tyranny must pass away as did these empires, before all the world is free. Above all, they stand for the four promises of redemption recorded in the story of the liberation of our people from Egyptian bondage:
I will bring you out
I will deliver you
I will redeem you
I will take you to be my people
Wine is a symbol of joy and happiness, and we thank God that we are able to gather together with friends and family to observe Passover just as our ancestors have done for millenia.
The First Cup
If the festival is on Friday night begin with the following:
וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם הַשִּׁשִּֽׁי
יְכֻלּ֛וּ הַשָּׁמַ֥יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ וְכָל־צְבָאָֽם
יְכַ֤ל אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה
יְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת
Vay'hi erev bay'hi voker yom hashishi. Vay'chulu hashamayim v'haaretz v'chol tz'vaam. Vay'chal Elohim bayom hash'vi-i m'lachto asher asah. Vayishbot bayom hash'vi-i mikol m'lachto asher asah. Vay'varech Elohim et yom hash'vi-i vay'kadeish oto ki vo shavat mikol v'lachto asher bara Elohim laasot.
And it was evening, and it was morning, the sixth day. Now the whole universe—sky, earth, and all the hosts—was completed. God completed the work of creation on the seventh day and rested, for all the work was completed. Then God blessed the seventh day and called it holy, for God rested on that day, having completed the work of creation. (Genesis 1:31-2:3)
On all other nights begin here:
We raise our cups in rememberance of the beginning of our redemption, as it is said:
Ani Adonai v'hotseiti et-chem mitachat sivlot Mitzrayim.
I am Adonai the Eternal, and I will bring you out from under the Egyptian yoke.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p'ri ha-gafen.
We priase you, Eternal God, Ruler of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine!
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן, אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַמַצוֹת הַזֶה, זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה), מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶךָ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן,) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikolam, v’rom’manu mikol-lashon, v’kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu b’ahavah ( shabbatot limnucha u’ ) moadim l’simchah, chagim uz’manim l’sason et-yom ( hashabbat hazah v’et-yom ) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z’man cheiruteinu, mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim. ( v’shabbat ) umo’adei kod’shecha ( b’ahavah uvratzon ) b’simchah uv’sason hinchaltanu.
Baruch Atah Adonai, m’kadeish ( hashabbat v’ ) Yisrael v’hazmanim.
Blessed are you, Eternal God, Ruler of the Universe, You have chosen us from all peoples, exalting us and sanctifying us with mitzvot. In Your love, Our God, You have given us (Sabbaths of rest,) feasts of gladness and seasons of joy; (this Shabbat day and) this festival of matzot, season of our freedom, in love, a holy commemoration, a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt. God, You have chosen us from all peoples, consecrating us to your service, giving us (the Sabbath, a sign of your love and favor and) the Festivals, a time of gladness and joy.
Blessed are You, who sanctifies (Shabbat) our people Israel, and the Festivals.
As we drink the first of four cups of wine, we thank God for giving us life, for sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this moment. We know that life is fragile. Each day is a gift to be cherished and no moment should be taken for granted. We thank God for helping us maintain a life of meaning and we are thankful for having opportunities to sanctify our lives by performing good deeds that make a difference in the world.
בָרוּךְ אַתָה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה
Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh. Amen.
We praise you, Eternal God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.
DRINK THE FIRST CUP
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