Arvei Pesachim #20: 108b

  • Rav Yair Kahn

Gemora Pesachim

Yeshivat Har Etzion


SHIUR #20:

by Rav Yair Kahn


Shat'an Chai Yatza


During the time of the Talmud, wine was very concentrated, and was normally diluted with water before drinking. The gemara deals with a situation where one drank the four cups of wine in their concentrated state (chai). While Shmuel rules that he fulfills his obligation, Rava is more reserved, and claims that he fulfills only his wine requirement, not his "cheirut" - freedom - requirement.


The phrase "yedei cheirut" seems to refer to a requirement specific to the seder night as opposed to a qualification with respect to kos shel berakha in general. Indeed, this is the impression one gets from the Rambam (7:7) who connects the obligation to drink the 4 cups, with the requirement to view (or show) oneself as if he was personally redeemed from Egypt. "Therefore," continues the Rambam, "one is obligated to eat and drink while leaning back 'derekh cheirut,' and to drink 4 cups of wine." It follows, that drinking undiluted wine, which does not conform with the normal behavior of a free person, lacks this element of "derekh cheirut." Consequently, a basic component of the mitzva of the 4 cups is lacking and one would probably have to drink another 4 cups, properly diluted, in order to fulfill his obligation.


However, from Rashi and the Rashbam it appears that the basic mitzva is fulfilled, although not in an optimal fashion. Therefore, it is neither necessary nor effective to drink an additional 4 cups of diluted wine in order to fulfill the cheirut requirement. (See Mordekhai.)


Tosafot (s.v. Shat'an), in contrast to the Rambam and Rashi, connect the requirement to dilute the 4 cups with the general halakhot which apply any time a benediction is made over a cup of wine (e.g., kiddush). We will see that this conforms with the general position of Tosafot, who view the 4 cups merely as a specific case of the general category known as "kos shel berakha."



Shat'an be-Vat Achat


Normally, the 4 cups are drunk at specific intervals during the seder. Kiddush is recited over the first cup. Maggid, and specifically the berakha of "asher ge'alanu," is recited over the second cup. The third cup is used for birkat ha-mazon, and the fourth cup for the second half of hallel. The gemara deals with a situation where one drank all four cups together. According to the Rashbam, we are dealing with a case where one drank four independent cups, while Rashi explains that the gemara refers even to one who poured the volume of four normal sized cups into one large cup and drank.


According to the Rashbam, one who drinks all four cups at once has fulfilled the requirement of "simchat Yom Tov." However, he has not fulfilled his obligation to drink the arba kosot. At first glance, this seems odd. After all, simchat Yom Tov is a general requirement which applies to all Yamim Tovim, and, therefore, should be unrelated to the halakha of 4 cups specific to the seder night. After all, regarding simchat Yom Tov, even ONE cup containing one revi'it should be sufficient. The answer to this problem relates to the flexible nature of simchat Yom Tov (which will be discussed in greater detail in an upcoming shiur). The halakhic parameters of simchat Yom Tov correspond to the specific context to which it is applied. Therefore, once the halakha of 4 cups was established vis-a-vis the seder night, simchat Yom Tov was defined accordingly (see Tosafot s.v. Yedei). In other words, on the seder night specifically, simchat Yom Tov demands 4 cups of wine. While according to Rashi, this requires a certain volume of wine to be drunk (even in one large goblet), according to the Rashbam the obligation is to drink 4 independent cups.


Moreover, perhaps the Rashbam considers simchat Yom Tov to be one component of the mitzva of the 4 cups. In other words, according to Rashi, simchat yom Tov is defined by the four cups; however, it remains an independent fulfillment. According to the Rashbam, perhaps simchat Yom Tov was actually integrated into the four cups. In any case, it is clear from the Rashbam, that the basic obligation of 4 cups was not fulfilled, and therefore another three cups must be drunk in their proper sequence.


The Rif and the Rambam, however, have a variant text, which alters the understanding of this halakha: "If one drank all four cups together he has fulfilled the requirement of CHEIRUT but not that of arba kosot." Cheirut, according to the Rambam (as we mentioned in the previous section), is the principal motivating factor for the institution of the requirement to drink 4 cups of wine during the seder night. One acts out, and actually experiences the redemption, through heseiba and the arba kosot. Therefore, if one drank the 4 cups in a manner which expresses freedom from bondage, he has fulfilled the basic component of the obligation of the 4 cups.


However, the gemara continues that he has NOT fulfilled the requirement of four cups. How can this be reconciled with the opinion of the Rambam? Indeed, according to the Rashbam, the basic obligation of the 4 cups was NOT fulfilled, but, according to the Rambam, the basic requirement WAS fulfilled. What does the Rambam mean when he writes that "yedei arba kosot LO yatza?"


Although the principal objective of the arba kosot is to display cheirut, nevertheless, the Rambam agrees that when Chazal established the obligation of the four cups, they instituted that specific texts be recited over these cups. For instance, although birkat ha-mazon may not normally require a cup of wine, during the seder night it must be recited over a kos (see 117b). In our case, the individual fulfilled the requirement of derekh cheirut; however, he did not recite certain sections of the hagadda in the proper manner i.e., over a kos shel berakha. Thus, he must drink another four cups within the context of the seder to fulfill the kos shel berakha requirement. This is in distinction to the previous case where one drank undiluted wine - the basic component of cheirut is lacking according to the Rambam and one must drink another 4 cups.


According to the Rashbam, as long as the proper texts were recited over wine, the main aspect of the obligation of the 4 cups was fulfilled. If those texts were not recited over wine, the basic requirement was not fulfilled. According to this approach, the aspect of kos shel berakha is the essential element of the 4 cups (and one need not drink another 4 cups even though the element of cheirut was missing). This is similar to the approach we attributed to Tosafot in the previous section.



Ha-Kol Chayavim


The simple understanding of this beraita is that everyone at the seder should drink 4 cups independently. This in contrast to a regular kos shel berakha, where only one person must drink (see Eiruvin 40b). The rationale underlying this distinction, is that a kos shel berakha is merely a majestic context within which certain berakhot and praise are recited. The cup must be sipped since it would appear to be insulting if the wine used to enhance the praise were subsequently poured down the drain. Nevertheless, the focus is on the TEXT recited, not on the act of drinking. Consequently, it is sufficient if only one person sips the wine. However, the basic obligation of the 4 cups, is to portray and experience cheirut. Therefore, it is the act of drinking which is essential. Since everyone is obligated to experience the redemption, it is incumbent on all to drink 4 cups of wine.


The above is consistent with the Rambam's approach. According to Tosafot who view the 4 cups as regular kosot shel berakha, the above distinction disappears. Indeed, we find that Tosafot (99b s.v. Lo) compare the 4 cups to a normal kos shel berakha regarding this issue as well. Therefore, Tosafot suggest that the beraita is not referring to the obligation on each individual to drink, but rather to the personal obligation to lto the berakhot which applies to all at the seder.


Similarly, regarding the amount of wine one should drink, the gemara requires the majority of a cup. Accordingly, we are again dealing with a special halakha which relates to the seder night, which demands not only that we recite over the cup, but that we drink the wine derekh cheirut as well. However, according to Tosafot, the reference is not to a majority of a cup but rather to a majority of a "revi'it" - the minimum shiur for a kos shel berakha. This, Tosafot claims, is identical to a "maleh lugmav" - the amount that should be drunk regarding any kos shel berakha (see Tosafot 107a s.v. Im). Again Tosafot are consistent with their general approach that the four cups on the seder night are essentially four independent kosot shel berakha. See Chiddushei Ha-griz (Chametz U-matza 7:9) for a clear presentation of these ideas.


Sources for Next Week's Shiur:


1. 108b Tanu Rabbanan: "ha-kol chayavim ... tahara" (109b)

2. 115b "lama okrin ... ve-yish'alu"

Rashi 109a s.v. chotfim

3. Tosafot Moed Katan 14b s.v. aseh, Rambam Hilkhot Yom Tov 6:17




1. Why didn't our sugya, which deals with methods used to interest children, include the removal of the seder plate?


2. Is there a biblical mitzva of simchat yom tov today? How is it fulfilled?


3. If simchat yom tov is fulfilled through eating and drinking, why does aveilut contradict simchat yom tov?






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