- Reciting Kiddush for Passover
- The Four Cups
- The Seder Leader cries out “Kadesh!”
- Next, the Seder leader will read the following from the Haggadah
- The Shehecheyanu Blessing
- Drinking the First Cup
The First Cup (Sanctification). The Seder service begins with the recitation of kiddush, proclaiming the holiness of the holiday. This is done over a cup of wine, the first of the four cups we will drink (while reclining) at the Seder. Wine is used because it is a symbol of joy and happiness. When drinking the four cups and eating the matzah we recline. Leaning on your left side illustrates the fact that the participants in the Seder are a free people. In ancient times only free people had the luxury of reclining while eating.
Reciting Kiddush for Passover:
The Seder Leader calls out Kadesh. After the candles have been lit and everyone is seated around the Seder Table, the Passover Seder is begun by saying Kiddush over the first cup (kos rishon) of Passover wine. This is also called the “Cup of Sanctification” (Kiddush). The word Kiddush means sanctification, which means to set apart or make holy. When the Eternal One said that He would take the Israelites out from Egypt, He separated them and therefore sanctified them.
The Four Cups:
The Four Cups of wine used in the Seder symbolize four distinct promises made by the heavenly Father (Exodus 6:6-7). These are traditionally referred to as follows:
1. The Cup of Sanctification
“I will bring you out (hotzeti) of Egypt”
2. The Cup of Deliverance
“I will deliver you (hitzalti) from slavery”
3. The Cup of Redemption
“I will redeem you (ga’alti) with My power”
4. The Cup of Restoration and Praise
“I will take you (i.e., lakachti) as My people”
The Messiah Ben Yosef (the Suffering Messiah) drank the first two cups according to tradition. However, at the drinking of the third cup, the “Cup of Redemption,” Messiah (who is the Korban Pesach) said: “This is My blood (i.e. life).” As for the fourth cup, at the drinking of this cup the Messiah told His talmidim (disciples) that He would not drink the fourth cup (the “Cup of Restoration”) until He returned to earth a second time, when as the Messiah Ben David He would restore Israel (sufficient for “all Israel to be saved”).
The Seder Leader cries out “Kadesh!”
In the traditional Seder, the leader cries out: “Kadesh!” and the cups are filled with wine. Then the following traditional blessing is recited over the wine:
“Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
“Barukh attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, Borei peri hagafen.
Next, the Seder leader will read the following from the Haggadah:
“Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who chose us from all peoples and exalted us from all tongues, and sanctified us with His commandments. And You gave to us, Lord our G-d, with love appointed times for gladness, festivals and times for joy, the day of this festival of Matzah, the time of our freedom, a holy convocation, a Memorial of the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us from all the nations and the festivals of Your holiness in gladness and in joy You gave us a heritage. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who sanctifies Israel and the seasons.
“Barukh attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher bachar banu mikol am veromemanu mikol lashon, v’kideshanu b’mitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai eloheinu b’ahavah mo’adim l’simchah, chaggim uzemanim l’sason, et yom chag hamatzot hazeh, z’man cheruteinu, mikra kodesh, zikher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim, umod’adei kodshekha b’simchah uvesason hinchaltanu. Barukh attah Adonai, m’kadeshYisrael v’hazemanim.
The Shehecheyanu Blessing:
After reciting the Kiddush for the first cup, the Shehecheyanu blessing is recited:
“Blessed are you, Lord G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and has brought us to this special time.”
“Barukh attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, she-hecheyanu v’ki-yemanu v’ higianu lazeman hazeh.”
Drinking the First Cup:
After the Shehecheyanu, everyone drinks the first cup while leaning or reclining to the left. You will need your pillows for this step of the Seder. [When the Passover occurs on Shabbat, then additional words are added to the Kadesh. See a good Siddur for more information.]