Wine in the Passover seder represents the joy, celebration, and redemption of the Jewish people, taken from slavery to freedom. We spill drops of wine – we sacrifice bits of joy of the Exodus’ conclusion – when we count the ten plagues that HaShem brought on Pharoah and the Egyptians. The Jews’ freedom was earned at the cost of others’ suffering, and because of this, we do not lick our fingers after we spill drops of wine.
Throughout Jewish law and teachings, it is improper to take delight in another’s hardship. We do not enjoy the sweetness of wine as we remember how G-d made our ancestors’ captors suffer.
As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.
Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.
These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:
Blood | dam | דָּם
Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ
Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים
Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב
Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר
Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין
Hail | barad | בָּרָד
Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה
Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ
Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת
The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior.
Today, even more than in previous years, we face ten modern plagues that bring suffering around the globe:
Making War, Teaching Hate, Spoiling the Earth, Perverting Government, Inciting Violence, Neglect of Human Needs, Oppression of Peoples and Nations, Corruption of Culture, Subjugation of Science, Erosion of Freedoms.
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