web analytics
August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Four Cups Of Wine

In this week’s parshah (Shemos 6:6) the pasuk reveals the four leshonos of geulah: v’hotzeisi, v’hitzalti, v’ga’alti, and v’lakachti. Rashi, in his commentary to Pesachim 99b, tells us that the four cups of wine that we are commanded to drink on Pesach at the Seder correspond to the four leshonos of geulah mentioned above.

Many Achronim point out a seeming contradiction between the aforementioned Rashi and Rashi’s commentary on a later Gemara in that perek. In Pesachim 108a the Gemara says in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi that women are obligated in the mitzvah of drinking the four cups of wine because of the rule “Af hein ha’yu b’osah ha’nes – they too were involved in the miracle.” On this Gemara, Rashi explains that the four cups of wine represent the three times that the word “kos” (cup) appears in the pasukim that discuss the Sar Hamashkim’s dream, and one more for bentching – totaling four cups of wine. Rashi has mentioned two different things that the mitzvah of the four cups represents.

The Yifei Einayim, the Nemukei Hagrib, and the Cheshek Shlomo explain that the Yerushalmi (Pesachim, perek arvai, Pesachim halacha 1) and the medrash in Bereishis (Vayeishev 68) quote a machlokes as to what the mitzvah of the four cups of wine corresponds to. Rabbi Yochanan says it corresponds to the four leshonos of geulah, and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says it corresponds to the word kos mentioned in the pasukim regarding the dreams of the Sar Hamashkim. (They additionally point out that in the medrash the names are switched, and that it is a mistake.)

Rashi believed both opinions to be true. Since the later Gemara that obligated women in this mitzvah was quoting the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, Rashi wrote according to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s view of what the mitzvah corresponds to – namely, the word kos in the pasuk.

The sefer, Sdei Chemed (volume 7, chametz u’matzah 15:6) quotes a letter written to him by Rabbi Chaim Berlin in which he attempts to answer this question. He quotes a medrash that explains that the four leshonos of geulah correspond to four decrees that Pharaoh decreed upon the Bnei Yisrael.

The first is “Va’yemariru es chayeihem- and they made their lives bitter.” The second: “im bein hu vahamisen oso – if it is a boy you should kill him.” The third: “kol ha’bein ha’yilod ha’yeorah tashlichuhu – every boy that is born must be thrown into the river.” And the fourth: the decree regarding the straw that they had to work. Each one of the four leshonos of geulah was said against one of these decrees. And the Rabbanan instituted the mitzvah of the four cups of wine to correspond the four leshonos of geulah.

All four decrees were applicable to males; however, only two of them applied to females. One could ask why women are obligated in the mitzvah of four cups of wine if they only were affected by two of the decrees that the leshonos of geulah were said for. It is for this reason that when explaining the Gemara that discusses the obligation of women in this mitzvah Rashi switched to a different source for the four cups of wine. The first Gemara was referring to the general obligation in the mitzvah; therefore, Rashi quoted the reason that it corresponds to the four leshonos of geulah. Additionally Rashi could not use the source that he quoted later for the first Gemara because the first Gemara says that we give a poor man wine for this mitzvah from the tomchei (charity). The source that Rashi quoted in the second Gemara said that the fourth cup is for bentching, and we do not give wine from the tomchei for bentching. Therefore Rashi explained in that Gemara that the mitzvah corresponds to the four leshonos of geulah.

In the later Gemara that discusses a woman’s obligation in the mitzvah, Rashi could not use the source of the four leshonos of geulah since it would not apply to women. Thus he wrote another source that does apply to women as well, namely the word kos in the pasukim describing the Sar Hamashkim’s dream.

Rabbi Chaim Berlin wanted to establish a new halacha based on his p’shat. If a woman were to ask for the four cups of wine from charity, we would be obligated to only give her three cups. This is because if we assume that the mitzvah corresponds to the four leshonos of geulah, she should only have two cups since only two decrees affected women. And if we assume that the mitzvah corresponds to the three times that it says the word kos in the pasuk and the fourth is for bentching, we would only give three cups from charity – since charity cannot provide for bentching.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Four Cups Of Wine”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, formerly from New York.
One-Third of Americans in Israel Live in Judea and Samaria
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

You may wonder, how can we be excited and joyful at a time when His Judgment, not Fatherly Love, reigns supreme?

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

We can suggest that since Hashem Himself appointed Dovid there is no question. The rules are only in place for when we must chose a king ourselves.

Perhaps a careful reading of the pesukim in the parsha will shed light on this dilemma.

The second parshah of Shema is referring to keeping the rest of the mitzvos, and there the Torah does not require that one spend all of his money in order to perform the mitzvos.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

We do not find that Pinchas was chastised for what he did; on the contrary he was greatly rewarded.

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-four-cups-of-wine/2012/01/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: