Advanced Search

Four Types of Freedom


Question:

Why do we drink four cups at the Passover Seder? I was asked to lead it this year and I’d like to be able to explain this. Thank you and Happy Passover.



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

That’s an excellent question, worthy of being asked by the “Wise Son”!

God made four promises to the Jewish People describing our Exodus from Egypt and our birth as a nation: “I will take you out; I will save you; I will redeem you; I will take you as a nation.” (Ex. 6:6-7) All of these promises were kept.

Based on this, our Sages instituted a rabbinical mitzvah to drink four cups, corresponding to these four promises.

What do these four promises actually mean? The Maharal of Prague explains that the transformation of our being slaves in Egypt to a free nation with a special connection to God involved four separate and distinct stages. The four promises correspond to these four stages.

1. Freedom from “cruel and unusual” labor. This came as soon as the plagues were introduced.

2. Freedom from being slaves. This occurred after the final plague.

3. Freedom from being in a foreigner’s land. This took place when they crossed the Red Sea and left Egypt. 

4. Freedom to become a nation with a special connection to God by receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai.

We recite Kiddush over the first cup, we read the Exodus story from the Haggadah over the second cup, we recite the Grace after Meals over the third cup, and we sing the Hallel Psalms of praise to God over the fourth cup.

Enjoy leading the Seder and I wish you a Happy Passover as well!


Similar Questions
Holidays > Pesach
Women and Pesach
Counting Jewishly
Molasses on Passover
Exile in Egypt
Cleaning Can Opener
Grape Juice for Four Cups
Nuts and Corn on Passover
Exodus - Reality vs. Holywood
Festivals on Shabbat
Advice for Pesach Cleaning
Egg-Matza
Passover: Four for Freedom
I Came Out of Egypt
Shabbat HaGadol
Special Clothing at the Seder
Should the Hagadah be Recited in Hebrew?
When Erev Pesach Occurs on Shabbat
An Insight into the Meaning of Dayenu
Selling Chametz
The Passover Haggadah
Reclining at the Passover Meal
Yizkor on Joyous Holidays
Kosher Dog Food
Middle Matzah for Afikomen
Meaning of the "Four Cups"
Which Sea Did the Israelites Cross?
Four in the Haggadah
Refilling Wine Cups After Mentioning the Ten Plagues
Memorizing the Ten Plagues
Why Isn't Moshe's Mentioned in the Haggadah?
Number of Jews in Exodus
600,000 Jewish Souls
Passover
Plagues
Matza
Substitute for Shank Bone
Helping the Needy Celebrate Passover
Passover Inspiration
Two Day Festivals in the Diaspora
Starting the Pesach Seder Early
Refund for Shabbat and Yom Tov Expenses
Chametz After Pesach
Storing Pesach and Chametz Utensils
Delivering Pizza
Is Brewer's Yeast Chametz?
Pesach Menu - Then and Now
Kosher Wine
Afikomen
The Name of Passover
The Mouth Speaks
Readings on Pesach
The Seder and the Fifteen Steps
Pesach Appetizer
Four Cups of Freedom
Leaning on Pesach
Why All the Questions?
Pesach Q&A
Potato Starch Cakes
Who Knows Thirteen?
Riding a Tricycle
Tefillin on Chol Hamoed
Pesach Matza vs. Regular Matza
The First Month of the Year
Shabbat HaGadol – “The Great Shabbat”
“Diaspora Day”
Counting the “Omer”
A One Day Festival?
Passover–Questions & Answers
Counting the Omer
A Second Day of Yom Tov
Focusing on Our Children
Beans, Hummus on Passover
Passover Flour for the Needy
Disposal of Extra Haggadahs
Red, White and Not Blue
Splitting the Sea: Waves of Destiny
“Count Up”: From Pesach to Shavuot
Shabbat before Pesach - Shabbat HaGadol
Four Children — Four Generations
Yom Tov Candles
Passover With My Friend and Fido
Elijah at the Seder
Order of the Seder
The Thirteenth Month
Elijah
Have a question?
 
Gateways - Your Key to Jewish Continuity

AskTheRabbi.org is a service of the Gateways Organization © 2022
Technical problems? Please contact the AskTheRabbi Support team