A variety of kosher wines is available for Passover, consumed widely by the Jews. Given below are some tips on choosing Seder Wine for Pesach.
Pesach is a festival of enjoyment and merry-making. It is customary for every follower and believer of the festival to drink four glasses of wine during the traditional Seder meal. This rule applies to all - men and women, young and old. It has to be observed by every person, irrespective of his/ her economic background and social status. Each of the four cups of wine has its own significance and is drunk during different points in the course of the meal. As mentioned in the Shemot or the Exodus, the four cups of wine are used to symbolize the four distinct redemptions promised by the Lord to the Hebrews, which are:
- I will take you out of Egypt
- I will deliver you from Egyptian slavery
- I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power
- I will acquire you as a nation
Apart from the four cups of wine drank by people, there is a fifth cup as well, called 'The Cup of Elijah', which is reserved for the Prophet. It is believed that the Prophet visits each Seder during Passover. The fifth cup is a symbol of the redemption of the entire human race, starting from the arrival of the Messianic Times. A recent addition to the cups is the “Miriam's Cup”, which honors the role of women and the contribution of Moses' sister, Miriam, who is regarded as the Prophetess in the Exodus. However, unlike Elijah's Cup, it is filled with water to honor the amazing Miriam, who gave life to hundreds of Hebrews during their journey through the hot and scorching desert.
Drinking the Wine
There is a particular time when each of these four glasses of wine is drunk during the course of the Sedar meal. They include
- At the conclusion of Kiddush
- After the narration of the story of Exodus and just before eating the Matzah
- Towards the ending of the Grace after meals
- After reciting the Hallel
Choosing Passover Seder Wine
- It is always better to decide in advance the type and quality of wine that you want for your Passover Seder meal. This will enable you to choose the wine of your choice from a wide variety of options. A number of liquor shops can even ask you to place a special order for the wine. This is especially true if they do not normally have a large order for it.
- Always be sure to select a wine that has either the letter U or K inside a circle over the wine labels. This means that the wine carries a kosher 'heckscher' mark, indicating that a rabbi has supervised the preparation of the wine.
- The selection of the variety of wine depends on the type of meal that is served. Most commonly, people choose red wines for the Seder meal.
- The quantity of wine for the Seder meal also varies. Generally, an average bottle of wine can serve around 5 normal cups. So, per five guests, you will need four bottles of wine, as you have to serve 4 cups of wine to every person, as per the Passover custom.
- You can buy kosher sparkling grape and cider juice for the children who will be attending the meal, but not drinking wine. However, it depends on the different families. While some prefer to let even the children taste wine, others provide 'The Four Cups' only after the person has attained 21 years of age.
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