Four Cups, Four Languages of Redemption - and a Fifth
Traditioanlly we have four cups of wine at the seder, and we leave a fifth for Elijah the prophet. These cups correspond to the four phrases below reflecting the language of redemption - and a fifth is added for our future redemption:
V'hotzaiti - And I will take you out (of slavery),
V'hitzalti - And I will save you,
V'ga'alti - And I will redeem you,
V'lakachti - And I will take you (as a nation),
V'heveiti - And I will bring you (to the promised land).
The fifth cup, which we leave for Elijah the prophet, represents our final redemption back to Israel that is yet to come. We leave it for Elijah to symbolize that we have not yet reached the point that we can merit arriving in our homeland. Let this fifth cup also represent the plight of refugees around the world who are still waiting for a durable solution that enables them to build a new home in safety. We pour the fifth cup in solidarity with these refugees because as Jews we recognize what it means to be wandering without a home, facing persecution, uncertain of our fate.
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