In the Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Hagadah, he says that there are four fours we see throughout the Seder. The four questions, מה נשתנה, the four sons, the four cups and the four expressions of redemption, ״והוצאתי, והצלתי, וגאלתי, ולקחתי״. But there seems to be another set of fours; the four pesukim that are found in ספר במדבר that are the backbone of יציאת מצרים. For one, ארמי עובדי אבי, another of how the Egyptians dealt with us cruelly, the third, how we cried to Hashem, and the fourth, Hashem brought us out of Egypt. But there’s really five fours; there’s a fifth verse that we don’t say, how Hashem brought us to ״מקום ארץ זבת חלב ודבש.״. So here’s the missing fifth.
So now, what about the fifth cup? Some say, there’s the fifth cup for אליהו, but since this is a מחלוקת, we don’t drink it. But how are there five if they represent the expressions of redemption? Because there is a fifth, and it’s called ״והבאתי״, “and I brought you”.
So far we found two of the expressions that we thought were fours that are now the fifths. Some say that that fifth cup is broken at weddings; the fact that we’re still in complete since we are not in the redemption. If we’re dispersed and facing persecution, we can celebrate to the fullest.
Now we have the question of where is the fifth son? The משנה פסחים says that there is a fifth question about eating a meal cooked, baked, and roasted but tonight, it’s only roasted. (Not anymore because we lost the Beit Hamikdash). Another whose missing manuscript was found in the Cairo Geniza. So the fifth child is the one who isn’t present at the table, but he’s lost from assimilation and intermarriage. We hear from Rashi that people in Egypt didn’t want to leave- even the חמושית, it doesn’t mean armed, it means, one fifth. So here, we have found the five fifths. We have five expressions of deliverance, five questions, five sons, and five פסוקים from מגיד, and not four.
Each points to something incomplete in our generation. In half a century, since the Holocaust, the Jewish people have emerged from darkness to light. We got Israel, our own Jewish state, Hebrew was reborn, and so much more. However, we are not yet at peace. We are still in the diaspora. Many Jews have estranged from their people and faith. We are missing Jews from out celebration. The fifth cup, the fifth expression of deliverance, the fifth son, and the fifth important verse are all missing because we haven’t yet haven’t reached our destination yet. ״והבאתי״, we still haven’t reached our full redemption yet. These missing fifths remind us that work still has to be done, and that our journey is still incomplete.
Student Studying in Midreshet Moriah