Second Cup/Ha Lachma Anya
Our minhag, which is in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch, has the filling of the second cup after Ha Lachma Anya before Mah Nishtana. However, the Rambam puts the filling of the second cup before Ha Lachma Anya. What is the basis of this machlokes? The answer is that it is a function of yet another machlokes. We have Yachatz right after Karpas. The Rambam, though, puts Yachatz all the way after Maggid and the drinking of the second cup, right before Motzi Matzah.
Why do we break the matzah before Maggid? It’s as the Mishna Brurah brings down from the Gemara, to fulfill both drashos of “lechem oni” – lechem sheh’onin alav devarim harbei – bread over which many words are said (meaning, maggid), and oni mi’lashon ani – poor – and the way of a poor man is to eat a prusah, a broken piece. Our minhag, then, is to make the matzah into full-fledged lechem oni before we begin Maggid.
That being the case, the paragraph of Ha Lachma Anya, according to our minhag, is an explanation for the action of Yachatz. Why did we just break the matzah? Because it needs to be lechem oni. So Ha Lachma Anya is not part of Maggid; it is just an explanation for Yachatz which is a preparation for Maggid. That is why we only pour the second cup after Ha Lachma Anya. We recite Maggid over the second cup. Since Ha Lachma Anya, according to our minhag, is not part of Maggid, we wait until after it to pour the second cup.According to the Rambam, though, that Yachatz only comes immediately preceding Motzi Matzah, it is obviously not possible to understand Ha Lachma Anya as an explanation of Yachatz. Therefore, it must be that according to the Rambam, Ha Lachma Anya is in fact a part of Maggid. Therefore, the cup over which Maggid is said must be in place before we begin Ha Lachma Anya. That is why the Rambam puts the pouring of the second cup before Ha Lachma Anya.
(From Reb Meshulam Twersky)
Daled Kosot – Kos Shel Bracha or Din Cheirus
There is an opinion in Tosafot (Pesachim 99b) that for Daled Kosos it is enough that just the leader of the seder drinks and everyone else is yotzei by listening to him. According to this, there really is no qualitative difference between the four cups of seder night and any other Kos shel Bracha (just that on Leil HaSeder, Chazal required four Kosos shel Bracha, for each mitzvah for which each is used).
Tosafot is consistent with his opinion elsewhere. Tosafot (Pesachim 107a) proves that m’lo lugmov (cheek-full) is the majority of a reviis from that which the Gemara says by Daled Kosos that one must drink the majority of the cup’s contents. What we see from this is that Tosafot holds that the amount one must drink for Daled Kosos is the same as any other Kos shel Bracha.
The Ramban and others, though, argue on Tosafot. The Ramban holds that for Daled Kosos one must drink the majority of the contents of the cup irrespective of how large the cup is. The Ramban understands that Daled Kosos is primarily an obligation to drink the wine. Accordingly, it is equally applicable to everyone, and listening alone will not suffice. Everyone has to have their own cup so that they can fulfill the obligation to drink. Also, since it is an obligation to drink, one has to drink the contents of that cup that he used – no matter how big it is. However, since there is a halacha that rubo k’kulo, it is enough to drink the majority.
Parenthetically, there is a discussion about whether or not the halacha of rubo k’kulo – that majority is as if the whole – is only a b’dieved. I don’t know if it is true or not. By schach it is explicit that it is functioning with the halacha of rubo k’kulo, and yet the lechatchila of schach is that there are supposed to be cracks here and there. That would certainly not imply that rubo k’kulo is a b’dieved. However, if it is true that employing rov is only b’dieved, there might be a l’chatchila to drink the whole cup according to the Ramban. However, b’dieved is good enough. If you’re drinking wine, b’dieved is good enough. If you’re drinking grape juice, you can do whatever you want.
This opinion of the Ramban that Dalet Kosos is its own new din of chiyuv shetiyah (not like Tosafos) is explicit in the words of the Rambam as well.
According to Tosafot, the requirement of cheirus – in a manner of free men – that the Gemara talks about in respect to Daled Kosos (108b) is only required lechatchila (since Tosafot holds that Dalet Kosos is essentially no different than any other kos shel bracha).
The Rambam has a different shitah, a very beautiful shitah here. The Rambam says (Hilchos Chametz u’Matza 7:6-7) that since there is a d’Oraysah obligation for one to act as though he himself was a slave who was redeemed and set free, one has to eat with heseibah, reclining. The Brisker Rav points out that, unlike other Rishonim who hold that heseibah is merely one of the specifications of the mitzvos of eating matza and drinking daled kosos, the opinion of the Rambam is that heseibah is an independent mitzvah by which one fulfills “chayav adam l’haros es atzmoh” – to act as Bnei Chorin, free men. That is why, as is clear from the Rambam, the obligation to be in a reclining position really applies to the whole meal, and reclining only by matza and dalet kosos is only a bare-minimum fulfillment. This is unlike the other Rishonim who would hold that there is no point to do heseibah for the rest of the meal.
If one forgot to recline when eating matza and drinking daled kosos, according to those Rishonim (e.g. Tosafot and Rosh) who hold that heseibah is one of the specifications of those mitzvos, he has to eat or drink again. According to the Rambam, though, he was already yotzei those mitzvos and simply missed the opportunity to fulfill the separate mitzvah of cheirus, and there is no point to eat or drink again.
The Rambam continues with the obligation to drink Daled Kosos and that it is incumbent upon everyone, men and women. It is clear, then, that the opinion of the Rambam is that Daled Kosos, in addition to being a Kos shel Bracha, is part of how we fulfill the mitzvah of conducting ourselves in a manner of cheirus on seder night.
Regarding the requirement to dilute the wine (as wine was extremely strong in the times of Chazal), as well, it is clear that the Rambam differs from Tosafot. Whereas Tosafot holds that the requirement to dilute the wine of the Daled Kosos is like that of any other Kos shel Bracha, the Rambam writes that it is because Daled Kosos must be a shtiyah areivah, an enjoyable drink, and the specific ration of dilution therefore goes according to whatever the one drinking enjoys. This is, of course, because the Rambam holds that Daled Kosos is a din of derech cheirus. Bnei chorin drink wine that they appreciate.
According to the Rambam, when the Gemara says that one who drinks the dalet kosos without dilution “yedei yayin yatzah, yedei arbah kosos lo yatzah”, that means that although he fulfilled the obligation of Kos shel Bracha for each one of the mitzvos with which one must have a cup of wine on Leil Ha’Seder; nevertheless, he did not fulfill the mitzvah of derech cheirus of dalet kosos – and if he did the opposite, that he drank four properly diluted cups of wine one right after the other, derech cheirus he fulfilled, but the requirement of Kos shel Bracha for each one of the four he did not.
The Ramah says that someone who does not have wine should use chamar medinah (literally, the drink of the country. Parenthetically, it is big tumult what chamar medinah is). This Ramah seems to be in accordance with the opinion of Tosafos that Dalet Kosos is a requirement of Kos shel Bracha. According to the the Rambam that Dalet Kosos is a mitzvah of derech cheirus, there would be no point to do dalet kosos with chamar medinah. Even if someone likes some other drink, it is basic that it is four cups of wine that Chazal instituted as the manner through which to express cheirus, and that without wine one simply cannot fulfill this. Unless you’ll argue that since, even the Rambam agrees that there is also the dimension of Kos shel Bracha, one should use chamar medinah to at least fulfill that part of it.
One time, when the Brisker Rav was together with his brother, Rav Moshe, for the Seder, there was only enough wine for one person to have dalet kosos. The question arose: should everyone else use chamar medinah? Their conclusion was negative. Using chamar medinah can only be a fulfillment of the Kos shel Bracha facet of Dalet Kosos, not the derech cheirus of the Rambam. And regarding Kos shel Bracha, there is no argument that everyone else can be yotzei by listening to the one using the wine. Therefore, there is no reason for them to also have chamar medinah because they are not gaining anything by doing that.
(From audio recording)
Provided courtesy of VayigdalMoshe.com