...the cup of Elijah is filled and the door is opened...

The Fifth Cup

The four cups of wine correspond to the four distinct redemptions incorporated in the Exodus: our physical removal from the geographical boundaries of Egypt; our delivery from Egyptian bondage; the creation of an inherently free people, immune to any future possibility of enslavement; and our election as G‑d’s chosen people at Sinai seven weeks later on the festival of Shavuot.

In truth, there is also a fifth element of redemption, the promise that "I will bring you into the land"—corresponding to the fifth cup of wine, the Cup of Elijah.

The first four elements of the redemption are something that we are to "drink"—to actively pursue and realize ourselves. It is within our power to overcome all that limits and enslaves us, both physically and spiritually, both without and within; to develop our potential for freedom, and to exercise this freedom as the freedom to fulfill our mission as G‑d’s people as communicated to us at Sinai.

But the culminating level of redemption—its "I will bring you into the land" element, which shall be fully realized only in the era of Moshiach—transcends human efforts.

This is not a cup we can drink on our own. We can only bring ourselves to the threshold of this perfect world, through our active realization of the first four "expressions of redemption." The drinking of the fifth cup, awaits Elijah, herald of the ultimate redemption.

Opening doors

G‑d is not a Do-as-I say-not-as-I-do type of being. So if He says open the door on this night, that means He’s opening His doors; doors that may have been impenetrable throughout the year, owing to the individual’s misdeeds and shortcomings. Tonight, G‑d opens all the "doors" for every Jew without exception, regardless of his or her spiritual standing. Tonight, we are given the opprotunity to "pass over" the usual constraints, and leap toward unprecedented heights.