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Arba Kosos

Apr 11, 2016

A number of different reasons are given for the arba kosos used on seder night. One reason given is because the word “kos” appears four times in Parshas Va-yaishev during the discourse in prison between Yosef and the Sar Ha-Mashkim (butler), as the Sar Ha-Mashkim relates his dream to Yosef.

Interestingly, the term “mishtay ha-yayin” (feast of wine) appears four times in Megillas Esther (Chapters 5,7), and yet , that is not offered as a reason for us to have arba kosos at the seder, even though the Purim miracle and the downfall of Haman occurred on Pesach! This would certainly seem to be a valid reason for us to drink four cups of wine at the seder.

Perhaps the reason for embracing the cups of wine mentioned in Parshas Vayaishev as the basis for our drinking four cups is because Pesach marks the celebration of freedom for Am Yisrael, a veritable birth of a nation. The Purim story, as related in the Megilla, occurred during a nadir in Jewish history, at a time of golus.

Mordechai impressed upon Esther not to reveal her identity or to divulge her origins. Yosef, on the other hand, even while in the dangerous depths of dungeon incarceration, proudly, and without fear, advertised his origins as an “Ivri,” a Jew. Therefore, it is only fitting that on the night marking our geula and independence and formation into the Chosen Nation, we model our seder activities upon the events of Yosef Ha-Tzadik.


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Learning on the Marcos and Adina Katz YUTorah site is sponsored today by the Goldberg and Mernick families to mark the yahrzeit of Samuel M. Goldberg, R’ Shmuel Meir ben R’ Eliyahu HaCohen z”l and by Mark and Karen Benson to mark the yahrtzeit of Betzalel Mordechi ben David Yizchak HaLevi