Rituals and customs are almost synonymous to the celebration of Passover. One of the most important rituals involves the Seder meal, in which family members get together to honor the festival and spread its inherent message. This is a way to make the younger generation aware of their past. It also helps inculcate the virtues of life in all the Jews, so that they can lead an honorable and respected life. A unique customs that forms a part of the Seder meal is the drinking of the four cups of wine. Each of these cups has its own significance and conveys a definite meaning. Read on to know more about the four cups of Pesach.
Four Cups Of Passover
The four cups of Pesach are meant to make the masses aware of the virtues of life and their significance in leading an honored life. They also symbolize the four distinct redemptions promised by the Lord to the Hebrews, which are very well mentioned in the Exodus or the Shemot. These four basic redemptions are (1) "I will take you out of Egypt", (2) "I will deliver you from Egyptian slavery", (3) "I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power", and (4) "I will acquire you as a nation". Each of the four Passover cups is a symbol of an action performed by the Lord and hence, it is customary for every follower to drink wine at four different points during the Sedar meal.
The Four Cups also conveys a message to the masses that it is “we who can give a direction to our lives and follow a meaningful route”. Drinking from the cups implies that they are free to follow their own goals, paving the way to an independent and happy life. No body and nothing on the face of this earth can enslave another living being and the festival of Passover is a unique portrayal of this fact. Apart from the four cups, there is also a fifth cup called "The Cup of Elijah" and it is reserved for ‘Elijah the Prophet’, who is believed to visit each and every Seder meal taking place in the world. This fifth cup is a message of redemption to the entire humanity, upon the arrival of Messianic Times. As this has not yet been achieved, the fifth cup is not drunk.
Even the poorest of the poor Jews have to take a sip of wine during Pesach. Each of the four cups of wine is linked with a specific section of the meal, For instance, the first cup is for Kiddush and the second is meant to go with the recounting of the Exodus. Similarly, the third cup concludes the Birkat Hamazon phase of the Sedar, whereas the fourth cup is associated with Hallel. In some of the Seder services, it is required that each person in the family contribute some wine to the fifth cup. This is basically to symbolize the sharing of the messianic hope by the followers and the believers. In certain other services, it is also essential for every person to mix wine from the Cup of Elijah with the fourth cup.