The Arba Kosot

The Daily Halacha Moment - Arba Kosot 🍷


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What are some halachot regarding the Arba Kosot (four cups)?

What type of wine should one use for Arba Kosot?


Answer:

It is especially praiseworthy to recite Kiddush over red wine, even if one has white wine that is of better quality. [1] The reason we use red wine is because it commemorates the Plague of Blood and the merits of the blood from the mitzvot of brit milah and Korban Pesach. [2]

One who finds it difficult to be stringent and drink wine for all four cups may drink grape juice instead even though it does not contain alcohol. This is especially true for women who find it difficult to drink wine. For Kiddush and Havdalah, though, there is no need to be stringent at all, and one may use grape juice. [3]

Similarly, One may use concentrated wine or grape juice as long as there is less than fifty percent of water content, to ensure that the taste of the grape content remains. One who does not know if his wine contains more than fifty percent of actual wine may not recite HaGefen on it. Instead, one must make a SheHaKol and may not use it for the four kosot. [4]

One’s cup must hold at least a reviit (81 ml. 2.7 oz according to the sefardic custom) of wine. One should preferably drink the entire cup all at once, even if it contains more than a reviit. However, one may drink in sips if he does not wait more than a few moments between each sip. If one’s cup is extremely large and one cannot drink even most of the cup, he should drink at least a reviit, and does not have to finish the rest of the cup. Furthermore, if one’s cup can hold more than one reviit, more than one person may drink from the same cup. However, one should only do this if there are no other cups that may be used. [5]


Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 472:11.

[2]. Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §2, p. 11, halachah 12. The Taz §9 states that the reason for using red wine is to remember the blood of the Jewish babies in which Pharaoh would bathe himself to rid himself of leprosy. Chazon Ovadia says that because the wine at the Seder is meant to remind us of good things, which is why we lean while drinking it, it is more probable that the reason we drink red wine is to commemorate the mitzvot that were done with blood, such as the Korban Pesach and brit milah.

[3]. Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §2, p. 13; ibid., Responsa, p. 99. Orchot Maran, vol. 2, p. 640, which states that Chacham Ovadia Yosef himself would use grape juice for the arba kosot since wine would make him tired, and he would otherwise not be able to stay up that night and continue to learn about yetziat Mitzrayim. See also Haggadah shel Pesach Yechaveh Daat, pages 34 & 80; Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 1:51; and Shema Shlomo, vol. 4, O.C. 11.

[4]. Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §2, p. 13; ibid., Responsa, vol 1., siman 6, p. 79. Yabia Omer, vol. 9, O.C. 92:7. See also Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 1, book 3, pages 583–600, which discuss this subject at length. See Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 1:51.

[5]. Shulchan Aruch 472:9; Chazon Ovadia, Pesach §2, p. 16; and ibid., Responsa 1:12.


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