Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The number four is central to the Pesach Seder. There are four cups of wine that most adults are required to drink and each requires their own beracha before drinking. There is also a segment in the Haggadah, titled the Four Questions, that describes four sons with unique personalities and religious outlooks, who inquire about Pesach.

Towards the end of the Seder, there is a song we sing that answers the question of how many matriarchs launched the people of Israel. Four.


But I believe the four exiles (arba galuyot) that the Jews have experienced over the centuries are alluded to in the song sung at the Seder: “In every generation they have tried to wipe us out but Hashem has rescued us from their hands.” The four exiles that greatly displaced and disrupted the Jewish people are known as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman (Edom) exiles – the last of which we Jews are still experiencing. Each exile had a different existential toxicity. There was physical exile; religious persecution in our own country; forced conversion and, conversely, acceptance leading to assimilation.

But despite the overwhelming odds against us, the Jewish people have survived and thrived, because, “Hashem has rescued us from their hands.” And we are confident He will continue to do so.

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