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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

 

W

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)

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