Why do we drink four cups of wine? G-d said to Moshe the four words of redemption: Vehozaisi, I shall take you out; Veyitzalti, I shall save you; VeGoalti, I shall redeem you; velakakhti, I shall take you. According to my holy ancestor, the Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loeb of Prague), and other mekubalim, holy mystics, there is a fifth cup, viheveisi, I shall bring you to the Holy Land. The first four cups are for the Exodus and Redemption from Egypt, Babylon, Persia and Edom (Rome). The fifth cup is for a redemption which has yet to come. But most people, simple folks like us, only drink four cups.
In this world wine makes us drunk, and us forget. When Messiah comes there will also be wine, but le that will it us up to the highest levels, because wine really could lift us up. It is only because the world is so low that wine drags us down more. If the world would be as it should be then every drop of wine would lift us to the highest levels. Pesach night is alittle bit like the world to come, so the four cups of wine lift us to the highest joy in the world. Suddenly we really understand that everything is right. When Mossiach is coming there will be a new song, but in order to hear this song you have to be drunk on a high level. Therefore, we really only start singing after the third cup of wine, which is when we say Hallel. By the third cup we are already drunk enough to hear the song of the world to come. As much as all the gates of Heaven are open th first part of the night, they are not completely open. After the third cup door we open the door for Elijah the prophet, because everything is open then. Nothing is in the way anymore!
THE FOUR SONS
Reb Zvi Elimelekh of Dinov (a grand nephew of Reb Elimelech of Liszensk)’s custom was to visit someone’s house on the first night of Passover in order to see how he was making the seder. So he stopped in front of one Yiddele’s house and Iistened to the Yiddele read from the Haggadah. He was chanting, “In regards to four sons the Torah speaks: One who is wise, one who is wicked,. .” and every time he would readthe word “one” he would shout out in a loud voice “O-N-E” as if he were saying the Sherna.
Afterward, Reb Zvi Elimelech recounted his experience, saying that this little Yiddele was making such a holy prayer from the “four sons” – by the way he was saying “O- N – E-” that Reb Zvi realized that even the wicked son knew the Oneness of haShem.
MOROR AND HAROSES
To make haroses you have to grind together a lot of apples, figs, and nuts and put in a little bit of wine, and cinnamon. This is to remind us of the mortar we put between the bricks when we were slaves in Egypt. At the seder we take the moror, the bitter herb, and dip it into the sweet haroses. Even in your greatest pain G-d makes the pain wide enough for you to go through. Meaning to say, even when G-d gave us all the maror in the world, all the bitterness, there was always just one little sweet spot.
Reb Nachman talks about some thing called Noam Elyon, a kind of holy sweetness which flows down from Heaven. This sweetness is so whole, that if your mind isn’t whole, and if your emotions aren’t whole then you can’t taste it. You don’t have the plate in whch G-d can give you the taste of holy sweetness. Matza is the simplest bread in the world, just flour and water. No salt, no pepper. Reb Nachman says that on Yom Tov the Noam Elyon flows from Heaven in simplicity. If you are not whole you cannot receive it. The matza we eat gives over to us its simplicity, wholeness. Matza tastes so good because it is a piece of the sweetness of Noam Elyon.
What makes us so perverted? We put so much work into our little piece of bread. What do people do for the few rubles they make? They put their whole heart and soul into it, and each time they do, they become more and more slaves. The matza we eat on Pesach doesn’t take much time to make. We put the least amount of time into our food, and the rest of the time we have is for doing great things, to be free.
When you eat the matza you really have to be with it, you can’t talk or joke. The piece has to be really big, and you sit and mamash eat matza. Once a year there is a mitzvah to eat, we are commanded to eat matza. Okay. It is also a mitzvah to eat on Shabbos, but it is not on the same level. On Shabbos we have to be happy, oneg Shabbos, so we make ourselves happy by eating. On Seder night we fulfill the biggest mitzvah in the world when we are eating matza. The holy Sanzer would sit after the seder, and put his hands on his stomach, and say “Ay! Tonight my stomach did so many mitzvos!”
The afikomen, the last piece of matza is realty not from this world. We put it away, we hide it, and then we eat it. It is coming from a completely hidden world. When we eat the aftkomen all our prayers are answered in that moment.
On Pesach we celebrate freedom, which means that G-d in Heaven opens the gates of freedom. This world is just a vessel for higher worlds, so something is happening in Heaven on Pesach night, and actually the whole month of Nisan, the month of freedom. We see all of nature becoming free. All the little seeds who were sitting under the earth and crying are now coming out, becoming free. Everything begins to grow.
There is a voice in the universe which says, “Let there be man”, and there is another voice which says, “Let there not be man”. These two voices struggle inside every person. The voice which says, “Let there not be man” wants to destroy man, says that he is worthless, he’s no good. What we don’t know is that we don’t really hate man – we try to hold back life itself when we say “He’sno good”. It is the voice inside us which doesn’t want man to be. The Ishbitzer says this is why winter comes to the world.
The voicewhich wants to stop life becomes too strong for a time. Then the voice which says “Let there be man” becomes strong again, and we have springtime, Pesach.
Why do we have to eat every day, over and over agan? Naturedoesn’t really trust , because she knows that we have something insideourselves which wants to destroy life. So nature gives its life – an apple,or some grain we can make into bread, but only enough for a few hoursor a few days, because the earth doesn’t completely trust man to listento the voice which does say “Let there be man”.
On Pesach we celebrate the power of giving life. The Zohar callsmatza “nahama dmehemenusa”, bread of faith. It is the fruit of the Tree ofLife, before Adam sinned. One fruit is enough to give you life completelyso you don’t have to eat over and over again. If man would only really
have faith, one piece of rnatza would be enough to last him for his whole life.
This is also why the last meal on the last day of Pesach iscalled Messiach ‘s seuda, the feast of the Messiach. When the Mossiach comesone piece of matza will again be enough to give life to a person, because the earth will be able to trust man agan.
ELIJAH’S CUP SHAFOKH HAMOSKHA — POUR OUT THY WRATH The Baal Shem Tov says that before Moshiach comes everythng will become more clean. The word for “man” in Hebrew is “adam” — alef, dalet, mem. Now “mo’od”
in Hebrew — mem, alef, dalet means “very”. Everything that comes from the same letters comes from the same root. So before Moshiach comes, a good man will be very good and an evil man will become very evil.
When we open the door for Elijah the Prophet during the second part of the sederwe say words which sound horrible. First we say holy words of love and peace, and then we say, “Pour out your anger at the world.” The world needs a little cleaning out. We are begging G-d, “Would you please do the cleaning?”
When we open the door for Elijah, who will come to announce the Meshiah, we are on the level of saying we don’t want to do the cleaning. There are a lot of people who are so eager in fighting evil, it’s the greatest thing in their lives. At the seder we say to “If there has to be some wiping of evil, please, You do it.”