end our Seder with
the call “Leshana Haba’ah Biyerushalayim”—“Next year
this a prayer? A heartfelt request? A dream we hope will be
is fact none of the above. It is a statement of fact, a
declaration of faith, made with total sincerity and certainty.
3300 years ago, our ancestors spent their last night in
, partaking in a feast. The Torah describes their meal: it
consisted of the paschal lamb, which they ate with Matzah and
bitter herbs. They were commanded to eat this meal, wearing
their traveling shoes and with sticks in hand—ready to go. For
this meal was the celebration of their impending Exodus from
. They were not yet free; Pharaoh had not yet released them from
their bondage. But they had been promised redemption and they
celebrated this promise with total faith in its imminent fulfillment.
that evening that we re-enact during our Seder. We eat Matzah
and bitter herbs, and then the Afikomen representing the paschal
lamb. We tell the story of what happened all those years ago,
the story of slavery and of subsequent redemption. We recite
blessings, recline as a sign of freedom and sing Psalms
recalling the Exodus from
Seder meal is more than a nostalgic journey into our early
history. It is not only a celebration of the redemption which
took place way back when. Just like that first Seder back in
, we also celebrate the redemption that is about to happen.
soon as we have completed our dinner, we pour a cup of wine and
place it on the table. Unlike the other four which are drunk
tonight, this one just sits there. The four cups that we drink
during the Seder, we are told, correspond to four promises of
redemption that G-d made to us back there in
. “I will take you out,” He said, “and I will save you,
and I will redeem you, and I will take you as My people.”
there was a fifth promise made at that time: “I will bring you
to the Land.” But this is an undertaking that G-d has not yet
fully discharged. He did indeed bring us to the
, but this was not permanent. Tragically this was followed by
Exile, and then return to the land only to be followed by more
Exile. This is why the fifth cup is not drunk during the Seder.
we have full faith in the imminent fulfillment of this fifth
promise, when G-d will send Moshiach to lead us to the Final
Redemption, after which there will be no further exile. We pour
the fifth cup of wine, and we call it the Cup of Elijah, for it
is Elijah the Prophet who has been charged with the task of
coming down to notify us that Moshiach is coming momentarily. To
show how much we believe and expect Moshiach’s arrival, we
open our front door at this point, welcoming him into our home,
into our lives.
that point in the Seder onwards we turn from the past to the
future. Like our ancestors in
, we celebrate the redemption that, we have been promised, is
about to happen. They believed with complete faith that the
Exodus was imminent, and we believe with complete faith that the
Messianic era is right there, just behind the wall, just around
the corner. They rejoiced in their pre-redemption festival,
eating a celebratory meal before the event and so do we rejoice
and celebrate our impending redemption with our Seder banquet. So
we praise G-d for what is about to happen. We sing Psalms that
describe the way things will be then, we recite verses of praise
to the Almighty for the miracles we know He will perform for us.
then conclude the Seder with a triumphant declaration, recited
with full conviction and fervour, for we know with certainty
that it is true: “Leshana Haba’ah Biyerushalayim”—“Next
this opportunity to wish you and your family a Kosher and
May the pure “food of faith”, as the Matzah is called,
enrich our lives and bring deeper faith into all our lives.
G-d protect our brethren in
and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily.