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  KD MAGAZINE! 
יום שישי כ' בניסן תשס"ה - 29 באפריל, 2005
 
 
1Leshana Haba’ah Biyerushalayim

Rabbi Yossi Gorodetsky
About the author

We end our Seder  with the call “Leshana Haba’ah Biyerushalayim”—“Next year in Jerusalem .”

 

Is this a prayer? A heartfelt request? A dream we hope will be fulfilled?

 

It is fact none of the above. It is a statement of fact, a declaration of faith, made with total sincerity and certainty.

 

Over 3300 years ago, our ancestors spent their last night in Egypt , 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 Egypt . 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.

 

It is 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 Egypt .

 

But our 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 Goshen , we also celebrate the redemption that is about to happen.

 

As 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 Egypt . “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.”

 

In fact 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 Holy Land , 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.

 

But 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.

 

From that point in the Seder onwards we turn from the past to the future. Like our ancestors in Egypt , 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.

 

We 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 year in Jerusalem !”

 

I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Kosher and Joyous Passover. May the pure “food of faith”, as the Matzah is called, enrich our lives and bring deeper faith into all our lives.

 

May G-d protect our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily.

 
Rabbi Yossi Gorodetsky

European & North African Bureau
of Chabad Lubavitch
8 Rue Meslay
75003 Paris France
Tel.: +331 4887 8712
Fax: +331 4887 8770
E-mail: chabadfr@aol.com 

 

 
     
 
 
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