Cup Ritual for the Family Seder
Miriam's Cup follows the second cup of wine, before washing
Raise the empty goblet and say:
Miriam's cup is filled with water, rather than wine. I invite
women of all generations at our seder table to fill Miriam's
cup with water from their own glasses.
Miriam's cup around the table(s).
Explain the significance of filling Miriam's cup with water:
A Midrash teaches us that a miraculous well accompanied
the Hebrews throughout their journey in the desert, providing
them with water. This well was given by God to Miriam, the
prophetess, to honor her bravery and devotion to the Jewish
people. Both Miriam and her well were spiritual oases in
the desert, sources of sustenance and healing. Her words
of comfort gave the Hebrews the faith and confidence to
overcome the hardships of the Exodus. We fill Miriam's cup
with water to honor her role in ensuring the survival of
the Jewish people. Like Miriam, Jewish women in all generations
have been essential for the continuity of our people. As
keepers of traditions in the home, women passed down songs
and stories, rituals and recipes, from mother to daughter,
from generation to generation. Let us each fill the cup
of Miriam with water from our own glasses, so that our daughters
may continue to draw from the strength and wisdom of our
Miriam's cup is filled, raise the goblet and say:
We place Miriam's cup on our seder table to honor the important
role of Jewish women in our tradition and history, whose
stories have been too sparingly told.
Continue by reciting this prayer (from Susan Schnur):
"You abound in blessings, God, creator of the universe,
sustains us with living water. May we, like the children
of Israel leaving Egypt, be guarded and nurtured and kept
alive in the wilderness, and may You give us wisdom to understand
that the journey itself holds the promise of redemption.
AMEN." --Susan Schnur
tell the story of a Jewish woman you admire.
Begin by saying:
Each Passover, we dedicate Miriam's cup to a Jewish woman
who has made important contributions to society and values
her Jewish identity. We hope that these women will be our
role models for future generations. This year, we honor
in honor of the prophetess Miriam follows the rituals for
the prophet Elijah after the meal.
Lift Miriam's cup and say:
Miriam's life is a contrast to the life of Elijah, and both
teach us important lessons. Elijah was a hermit, who spent
part of his life alone in the desert. He was a visionary
and prophet, often very critical of the Jewish people, and
focused on the messianic era. On the other hand, Miriam
lived among her people in the desert, following the path
of hesed, or loving kindness. She constantly comforted the
Israelites throughout their long journey, encouraging them
when they lost faith. Therefore, Elijah's cup is a symbol
of future messianic redemption, while Miriam's cup is a
symbol of hope and renewal in the present life. We must
achieve balance in our own lives, not only preparing our
souls for redemption, but rejuvenating our souls in the
present. Thus, we need both Elijah's cup and Miriam's cup
at our seder table.
and dance with tambourines (See "Music").
First hold up a tambourine and say (from Exodus 15:20-21):
"And Miriam the prophetess, took a timbrel in her hand;
and all the women went out after her, with timbrels and
with dances. And Miriam sang unto them, Sing ye to God,
for God is highly exalted; The horse and his rider hath
God thrown into the sea." As Miriam once led the women
of Israel in song and dance to praise God for the miracle
of splitting the Red Sea, so we now rejoice and celebrate
the freedom of the Jewish people today.