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Partaking of Miriam's Cup

Erev Pesach Blessings -

Honoring Women in Jewish History

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Passover Seder Steps
Kos Miriam and Blessing

IN SOME PASSOVER CELEBRATIONS it is customary to include a special goblet called "Miriam's Cup" on the Seder Table to honor the role of women in Jewish tradition and history. It is often set beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam, of course, was Moses' sister who helped the Jewish people escape from Egypt during the Exodus, and Yeshua's mother was likewise named Miriam (i.e., "Mary").

After the Yom Tov candles are lit - but before the blessing over the first cup of wine - the women at the Seder table are invited to fill Miriam's Cup with water from their own glasses. The following blessing is then recited:

זאת כּוֹס מִרְיָם, כּוֹס מַיִם חַיִּים
זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם

Zot kos Miryam, kos mayim chayim.
Zecher litziat Mitzrayim.

This is the cup of Miriam, a cup of living water.
A reminder of the Exodus from Egypt.

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After this blessing, Miriam's Cup is passed around the table and each guest either takes a sip or pours a little water from the cup into their own glass....

A Midrash teaches that a miraculous Rock/Well of Living Water accompanied the Jews throughout their journey in the desert that provided them with fresh water.  According to later tradition, this well was given in honor of Moses' sister Miriam, to honor her devotion to the Jewish people (the "Well of Miriam"). Both Miriam and the Rock/Well of Living Water were "spiritual oases" in the desert, sources of life and healing.

Whenever the Israelites prepared to camp, the 12 nesi'im (leaders of the tribes) would sing praises to the LORD, and the Rock would gush forth four streams of water. One stream surrounded the mishkan (Tabernacle), another surrounded the camp of the Levites, and another surrounded all the Israelites. A fourth stream marked out the boundaries for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. 

It is fascinating to note that the Apostle Paul correlated this life-giving Rock with the Mashiach Yeshua (1 Cor. 10:4). In other words, Yeshua Himself was the Source of Life for the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness of Sinai.  He was the Living Waters then, just as He is today....  The Cup of Miriam, then, commemorates the Presence of the Mashiach Yeshua as the Jews trekked their way to the Promised Land.

For the next step of the Seder, click the Kadesh button at the top of the page.

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