Passover: Why Four Cups?

Drink Up!

One of the most famous – and enjoyable – parts of the seder is the four glasses of wine we are commanded to drink that night. Why four cups? As with everything Jewish, there are multiple answers. Here are a few:

🍷 When God promised to deliver the Jews from slavery in Egypt, He used four terms to describe the redemption (Exodus 6:6-8): a)“I shall take you out…” b) “I shall rescue you” c) “I shall redeem you….” d) “I shall bring you….”

🍷 The four cups represent our four exiles from the Holy Land: the Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek exiles, and our current exile which we pray will end very soon with the coming of Moshiach (Messiah)!

🍷 The words “cups of wine” are mentioned four times in Pharaoh’s butler’s dream (Genesis 40: 11-13). Just as the butler was liberated from prison in Egypt, these cups of wine allude to the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt.

🍷 Wine helps us celebrate the holiday with joy! 🤩 

(with thanks to Rabbi Naftali Silberberg)

Image: Seder cups, c. 1800. (Jewish Museum of Switzerland)

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