I've heard there is an opinion that the daled kosos (four cups of wine) at the Passover Seder are m'doraisa (a Torah obligation). What is the source for this, if there is one? I vaguely remember a source being in the Yerushalmi?

What Seforim speak about this? Are there any nafkei minah that are brought or discussed?

3 Answers 3


Some commentators maintain that, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, the obligation of the ארבע כוסות (Four Cups) is מן התורה (a Torah obligation). This is the view of the Kli Chemdah (Parshas Va'era) based on the Yerushalmi in Shekalim (3:2), Nazir (6:5), and Pesachim (10:1, contra the Pnei Moshe's interpretation).

To quote one example, the Yerushalmi in Shekalim questions whether one can fulfill the mitzvah of ארבע כוסות with wine of שביעית. Following the interpretation of the Yerushalmi that this refers to fruit after the time of ביעור, the Kli Chemdah explains that the Yerushalmi's question is whether the mitvah of ארבע כוסות can be דוחה the prohibition of eating פירות שביעית אחר זמן ביעור. This possibility could only be entertained if the obligation of ארבע כוסות is דאורייתא.

  • can you add how the Yerushalmi proves this?
    – sam
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 15:24
  • Worth noting that Zman Biur for grapes is 14 Nissan, so Mevuar wine for Pesach is a very expected issue
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 16:03
  • @DoubleAA interesting
    – wfb
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 16:41
  • @DoubleAA indeed that is the basis for the Chazon Ish's interpretation of the Yerushalmi
    – wfb
    Commented Apr 21 at 15:05

During the shabbos hagadol drasha this year (5774) our rav mentioned the statement that each of the arba kosos is regarded as a separate mitzva. He stated that many mitzvos must be performed 'al hakos'. Thus the cups themselves are not mi'd'oraisa, but the mitzva they are drunk for are torah prescribed. Other mitzvos that are required al hakos are bris milah, birchat hamazon, or kiddush hayom.

The four mitzvos in hagaddah are kiddush hayom, magid, birchat hamazon, and hallel. Each mizvah has a bracha said al hakos for that mitzvah.

In the case of the question as asked it would appear that the answer would be "no", in one sense, and "yes" in another sense. That is, it is not the matter of the cups themselves that is from the torah, but the associated mitzva. Then again, perhaps the association may be what is being asked about (that is is the association of kos with the mitzva from the torah)

  • Also Birchos Erusin, Nissuin, Dam Betulin, Pidyon haBen, Tanchumei Avelim, and Havdala.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 2:29
  • @DoubleAA yes, I just gave the most obvious. I suppose I should have included havdalah 'as if that makes a difference' (:-) especially as we "just" made havdalah. Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 2:46
  • 1
    How exactly does this answer the question?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 14:33
  • @DoubleAA The rav said that the kos itself is not a matter of min hatorah, but the mitzvah that is said al hakos is what is being considered. Thus, when the Magen Avraham (for example) says that they are four separate mitzvos, then it is the mitzvah that it is attached to that is min hatorah or not. Thus, since birchat hamazon is min hatorah and it is said al hakos, then you would say that that kos is min hatorah. similarly kiddush hayom, magid and hallel. His main discussion was about bracha rishona and brachah acharona and about the hefsek involved in kiddush bemakom seudah. Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 16:08
  • 1
    @DoubleAA is right, the question was not addressed at all
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 11:51

According to the Rambam, Chametz UMatzah 7:11 (in the Mechon Mamre order) there are two distinct obligations in the four cups, the obligation of the four cups (a cup of blessing on each of the four Mitzvos of Kiddush, Haggadah, Birchas HaMazon and Hallel) and the obligation of showing oneself to be free. And the Rambam explains that there are ways to end up drinking the four cups in a way to fulfill one of those without the other.

The four cups aspect is Rabbinic, however the freedom aspect is easily understood as a Torah obligation, derived from specific Pesukim (Rambam there Halacha 8).

So by drinking the four cups mixed to be sweet to the taste of the drinker is a specific way to fulfill the Torah obligation of showing oneself to be free.

[It seems pretty obvious that the Torah requirement could be fulfilled in other ways, but that this is a way to do it, and the Rabbis (according to the Rambam, and the Rif agrees) specifically instituted this way to do it. Much like we say hearing Parshas Zachor is a Torah obligation, but the structure of hearing it in a Torah reading in public on the Shabbos before Purim is Rabbinic].

In terms of a Nafka Mina, I haven't heard of any.


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