The Wine of Redemption by Ilan Tokayer


At the Seder we fulfill the important Mitzva of the ארבע כוסות.  While there is normally a rule that one may not spend more than a fifth of his money for a particular Mitzva, this Mitzva of ארבע כוסות is so important that if one does not have the means to buy himself ample wine for four cups, he is obligated to literally sell the shirt off his back in order to obtain the necessary amount of wine.  What is the basis for this ruling, quoted by the Rambam?  Why is the Mitzva of the ארבע כוסות so important?

The Rav explains this phenomenon in the following way:  The Mitzva of ארבע כוסות is one of Pirsumei Nissa, publicizing the miracle.  When we drink the four cups of wine, we are demonstrating that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim.  Because of this important statement of the ארבע כוסות, we must go to great lengths to see to it that we perform this Mitzva.  This is also the reason that both men and women alike are obligated to perform the Mitzva of ארבע כוסות.

However, another question arises.  Why does the Rambam specifically apply this idea of Pirsumei Nissa to the ארבע כוסות?  Why not another Mitzva, such as the Matza that we baked with haste when we left Mitzrayim or the Maror that we ate with the Korban Pesach?  To answer this question, we first must have a better understanding of the ארבע כוסות.

The generally accepted approach is that of the Talmud Yerushalmi that each of the ארבע כוסות corresponds to one of the ארבע לשונות גאולה that Hashem presented in the beginning of Parshat Vaera: והוצאתי, והצלתי, וגאלתי and ולקחתי.  Therefore, drinking each כוס celebrates another aspect of Hashem’s bringing Bnai Yisrael out of Mitzrayim.

With this in mind, it also says in the beginning of Parshat Vaera (Shemot 6:8): והבאתי אתכם אל הארץ אשר נשאתי את ידי לתת אותה לאברהם ליצחק וליעקב ונתתי אתה לכם מורשה אני ה'.  והבאתי seems like it should be one of the לשונות גאולה.  If we drink a cup of wine representing words that Hashem used to describe how He took Bnai Yisrael out of Mitzrayim, all the more so we should drink a cup representing how Hashem brings Bnai Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael.  After all, is not that the purpose of the Geula in the first place?

I would like to offer the following explanation for this difficulty.  והבאתי is not inferior to the other לשונות as it may seem.  Rather it is in a class of its own.  All of the other לשונות are merely the means to an end.  Only through והוצאתי, והצלתי, וגאלתי, and ולקחתי is it possible to achieve the final, primary goal of והבאתי.  This is why והבאתי is represented at the Seder by the כוס של אליהו הנביא, who will lead us to the final Geula.

In our days, we must look for the והוצאתי, והצלתי, וגאלתי and ולקחתי from Galut, in order that we may achieve the long anticipated dream of a final והבאתי, when we will be זוכה to build the ultimate Bait Hamikdash, and all Jews will live peacefully, side by side, in Eretz Yisrael.


Why Me? by Rabbi Mark Smilowitz

All Alone by Josh Dubin