Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The 4 Cups

Y. Bromberg

On Pesach night we drink four cups of royalty! Let’s explore the deep meaning behind this beautiful mitzvah and some of its intricate halachos

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

 Mishpacha image



hy Four Cups?

1) When Hashem promised to take us out of Egypt, he used four words to describe our future Geulah.

2) The Abarbanel writes that the Four Cups represent four periods of Geulah: 1. When Hashem chose Avraham as the father of the Jewish Nation. 2. Yetzias Mitzrayim. 3. Hashem’s constant protection over us throughout history. 4. The final and future Geulah.

3) According to the Vilna Gaon, the Four Cups represent four worlds: 1. This World 2. World of Mashiach 3. World of techiyas hameisim and 4. Olam Haba. Somone who fulfills the mitzvah of Arba Kosos has a place in these four worlds.

4) Maharal says that one of the reasons why we drink Four Cups is because of the Four mothers of Klal Yisrael — Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel, and Leah. Since it was in their zechus that Klal Yisrael was saved! (See also the Shelah).

What Makes a Good Kos?

Cup must meet all of Chazal’s requirements regarding a kos shel brachah (a cup used for a mitzvah):

1) Cup must be filled to the top with wine. Even if it is huge!

2) Cup may not be broken.

3) Cup must be perfectly clean.

4) Cup must not be disposable.

Note: On Pesach night, after the first kos, the cup does not need to be cleaned for the three remaining cups. However, some follow the minhag of the Kaf Hachaim and do rinse them between each kos.

What Type of Wine?

Red Wine

Red wine is preferable, as this reminds us of blood: the blood spilled by Pharaoh killing the Jews; Makkas Dam; and the blood the Jews smeared on their doorposts.


White Wine
According to Ashkenazim, if someone has white wine superior to their red wine, then one can use the white wine. However, Rav Ovadiah Yosef writes that Sephardim should still use the red wine in such a scenario. (In some Ashkenazic countries, the minhag was to never use red wine because of the fear of blood libels.)

Uncooked Wine
Wine that is not mevushal (boiled) is better than mevushal wine for a number of reasons: 1. Nonboiled wine tastes better. 2. We’re supposed to use nonboiled wine because that’s what they used in the Beis Hamikdash. 3. Some poskim hold that we cannot make a brachah of “hagafen” on boiled wine because it’s so inferior. Instead, it would require a “shehakol” and that wouldn’t work for the Arba Kosos.

Note: Whichever wine you choose, remember to drink each of the four cups within half a minute!

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 704)

Related Stories

It Works for Me!

Sarah Einhorn

“Some people give their daughters a session with me as a graduation gift. What better gift is there ...

Big Shoes to Fill

Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

Shimon Ginian’s family is passionate about shoes. Since 1936, when his grandfather started Ginian Sh...

Teen Fiction: Scratch That Plan

Malky Cope

But she left it in the garbage, a voice inside me argued. She obviously didn’t care about it. The mo...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you