Five Cups: Reb Mordechai Rosen z”l

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29 Jun 2006

What does Hashem Elokecha ask from you, but to fear Hashem Elokecha and to walk in His ways?
(Devarim, 10:13)


One of the four sons discussed in the Haggadah is the Rashah. The Rashah asks, “Mah HaAvodah Hazos Lachem,” what is this Avodah for you? On Shavuot we say “Chetzi L’Hashem v’Chetzi Lachem”, half to Hashem and half to you. There is an Avodah that is called “Lachem” – the seudos that we eat on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

The Rashah does not understand how eating, which is a seemingly Gashmius activity, can be Avodas Hashem. This is the problem with Reshaim – they are not capable of turning Gashmius into Ruchniyos.

“Bechol Dor V’dor Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo”. The Haggadah tells us that in each generation a person must see himself as if he came out of Mitzrayim. But in reality, it is much deeper than that. Each man in every generation must see himself and his actions and not just the actions of his Avos. We must constantly be examining our own actions first.

On Pesach at the Seder, we drink 4 cups of wine plus we have one cup for Eliyahu HaNavi. The word cup in Hebrew is “Kos.” The gematria of the word Kos is 86, which is the same gematria as “Elokim.” 5 X 86 (5 cups) is 430 which is the gematria of the word “Nefesh”.
There are five parts of a man’s body over which he does not really have control. They are his 2 ears, 2 eyes, and the “Os Bris Kodesh.”

These five Ayvarim are very hard for a man to control. Avraham Avinu was only able to control these five after Hashem added the Hey to his name.

The five cups of wine which we use Pesach night are keneged these five Ayvarim. We can find a remez to this at the end of Parshas Bo. The Pasuk tells us that the years that Bnei Yisrael were in Metzrayim were 430. 430 is Nefesh, which is 5 cups of wine x Elokim.

It is only with the help of Elokim that man can control these five Ayvarim and save his Nefesh for Galus.