If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving the Lord your G-d and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. You shall gather in your new grain and wine and oil~ Deuteronomy 11.13-14
For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you ~ declares the Lord ~ plans for your welfare, not for your disaster, to give you a hopeful future. When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will give heed to you. You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly. I will be at hand for you ~ declares the Lord ~ and I will restore your fortunes. And I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places I have banished you ~ declares the Lord ~ and I will bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you. (Jeremiah 29.11-14)
Pesach is almost here. Observant Jews worldwide are preparing for its arrival. Chametz, leavening, of every kind is being purged from our homes and from our hearts as we wait expectantly for Passover to begin. The first night recalls the events leading up to the Passover when we were still slaves in Egypt, and reminds us to tell the story to our children and to our children’s children down through the ages. This is a night of vigil, the eve of our liberation from bondage.
This is the night we ask the questions and drink the wine and eat the matza. This is the night we remember the first Pesach, the Passover.
Everything matters. Everything has significance.
The four cups of wine we drink throughout the seder mean something. They signify movement, they are the four expressions of redemption: (1) I will take you out, (2) I will save you from bondage, (3) I will redeem you, liberate you from subjugation, (4) I will take you to me as a people. This is followed by “and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” Why then are there not five cups of wine? Some say that the Elijah cup is the fifth cup. It signifies what is to come. When we the Jewish people come to know that the Lord is our God, then Hashem will “bring you to the land, concerning which I swore with an uplifted hand to give to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. . .“, the land of Israel.
This is not just any other night. This is the night of vigil. This is the Pesach. In a matter of days we will be sitting at our seders recalling the story of our liberation and freedom, our becoming a people. If not this year, then may we next year celebrate in Yerushalayim!
**All images were googled from stock photography.