The Passover is upon us! How amazingly exciting! The 4th cup of the Seder is the Cup of Praise. When drinking this cup, we sing and rejoice that Israel was made into a nation at Sinai! The leader of the Seder says that Lord has remembered us; and to this day, God has remembered the everlasting covenant that He made with Abraham in Genesis 17:7. Traditionally we sing Dayenu—“it would have been enough” – and psalms of praise. In the song Dayenu, we thank God for delivering us from the Egyptians, bringing us through the Sea of Reeds, and bringing us forth as Am Yisrael, the people of Israel!
However, this cup tastes bittersweet, since those of us outside of Israel remember that we are still in the Diaspora, exile from the Land. More observant Jewish people refer to the diaspora as “the galut” which is the Hebrew word for exile. In traditional Judaism today, it is commonly understood that the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, and resulting exile from the Land is God’s punishment to the Jewish people for “baseless hatred” of the people against one another in the first century. Even though our people have been partially restored to Israel, our historical homeland, among traditional Jewish people there is still a sense of longing and expectation, as not all exiles have been regathered from the four corners of the earth, and Messiah has not yet come–but of course He has!
Even within the shame of galut–there is hope that this state of exile is temporary, just as the punishment of a loved child is temporary. Within the heaviness of the punishment of exile, there is a hope when drinking this 4th cup, that God will forgive, restore the Jewish people, bring them back to the Land of Israel and that the Messiah will finally come! I don’t know about you, but my heart leaps at this promise!
There is actually a 5th cup that expresses this eternal hope—stay tuned!