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Four at the Fore

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Topic: 4 - Symbolism & Connection to Passover Seder

Laurie in Toronto, Ontario wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am responsible for answering questions at Pesach, but one that was asked of me I can't answer. Why is there so much significance to the number four in the Haggada: For example: Four questions, four sons, four glasses of wine.

Dear Laurie,

The "four" concept relates to the four promises G-d made to Moses in the verse: "I will take you out of the forced labor in Egypt, and free you from their slavery; I will liberate you and I will take you to be My own nation." (Exodus 6:6-8). Each of the four phrases in this verse describes a unique stage of redemption.

Four represents exile, being scattered to the "four corners of the earth." Correspondingly there are four levels of redemption from exile.

Four also represents growth, spreading out in all four directions. Pesach is the time of the birth of the Jewish nation, who are to fulfill G-d's blessing to Yaakov to "spread out to the west, east, north and south." (Genesis 28:14) Pesach is also in the spring, a time when G-d's blessings are seen to increase in the world.

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