Israel Forever

For the week ending 5 January 2008 / 27 Tevet 5768

The Fifth Cup

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
The drinking of four cups of wine at the Pesach Seder has its roots in the four promises of freedom given by G-d to Moshe. But if we pay close attention to the Torah portion which will be read this Shabbat in synagogues throughout the world we will take note that there is a fifth promise as well. "And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov."

The first four promises of liberation from Egyptian bondage and that of "I will take you to Me for a people" through giving them the Torah were completely fulfilled for the generation of our ancestors to whom these promises were given. But the fifth one was not – an entire generation died on the way to their promised land because of their sins!

The answer to this puzzle is that the first four promises were given unconditionally in contrast to the fifth one which was preceded by the condition "You shall know that I am the L-rd your G-d", a condition they failed to fulfill by accepting the slander of the spies about the land.

Knowing G-d was and remains our guarantee of Israel forever.

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