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Q&A

Why do we remove wine from our cups at "דם ואש ותימרות עשן"?

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During Maggid during the Pesach Seder, there is one point where we say

דם ואש ותימרות עשן

Blood, fire, and columns of smoke
(ArtScroll Machzor translation)

This is a quote from Yoel 3:3.

At this point, we remove some wine / grape juice from our cups, one for each phrase (at least, the Ashkenazim do; I don't know about other customs).

This feels... almost like a joke to me. The first word here is "דם", blood, which is the same as the first plague - which we list a few lines later, removing wine at each mention of the plagues. Removing wine here at the Yoel quote seems like a false start; it starts with "blood", so we'll remove wine like we're listing the plagues... but oops, it's not the plagues!

So why do we actually remove wine here, since I'm fairly confident it's unlikely to be a false start that got ingrained in tradition?

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2 comments

You know of a satisfying explanation why we do it at the plagues? That reason doesn't apply here? Or you're wondering there as well. robev‭ 21 days ago

@robev - I've heard that we remove it in memory of the Egyptians who lost their lives during the plagues. But we've quoted above this line mentions of the plagues (such as Dever); it's only during the second half of this pasuk and at the plagues that we remove the wine, though. So no, I don't think that explanation quite applies here, at least without some further details as to why we don't do it at e.g. the mention of Dever. Mithical‭ 21 days ago

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