What do the number’s 4 and 5 have to do with Passover, you must be wondering?
Well lets start with the Hagadah there are five main parts to the Hagadah. They are the Kiddush through Karpas, then you have Maggid which is the story, then you have the meal, then you have Hallel – song’s of praise. After Hallel are more songs. Then there are the four/ five cups. And the five times that a vav is missing from Eliyahu Hanavi’s name in the tanach. There are the 4 questions and the 4 sons. There are 5 exiles There are 4 phrases of redemption. So how do we tie all these ideas together?
The four cups, the four questions,the four sons, and the phrases of redemption, come together because they are all about being free to question, to understand, to live as a nation. The four cups becomes 5 cups when we add in Eliyhau hanavi’s cup at the end of the meal. While no one but Eliyahu drinks from his cup, it does have to be poured. Eliyahu is supposed to come to announce the final redemption and that Mashiach has come. In this past’s week haftara we read the last portion of the book of Michah who was one of the last prophets. The last sentence mentions Eliyahu’s coming to announce the redemption which is how it is connected to Pesach. Yet Eliyahu’s name is missing a vav, so when we look to the commentators, such as Rashi, it tell us that Yaackov Avinu took the vav as a promise that his descendants would be redeemed. So why not just one vav, why did he take the vav five different times and add it to his name? I believe that the answer to this question is that the Jewish people are destined to go through 5 different exiles. So Yaakov took a vav for each exile. We start with Egyptian exile which was caused in part by a lack of unity among the 12 tribes, this trait of jealousy and insecurity which comes from Lavan the Armenian who was the grandfather of the 12 tribes had to be corrected in order that the Jewish people could become one with G-d. We also have the exiles of Greek, Persia, Babylon, and now the Roman exile. Through each exile we carry with us the promise that G-d will redeem us, when we do teshuva for the main reason that we were exiled, each exile has a different reason. The point of Pesach is not to be exhausted from cleaning, but really to clean our souls of all the junk that has accumulated and focus on the idea that G-d has given us the amazing gift of being his people, and that we are free!
Chag Kasher Samech!