Friday, November 30, 2007

VaYeishev 2

Familiar Ring of Four Cups
By Rabbi Neil Fleischmann
“Pharaoh's cup was in my hand.
I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup.
Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.'
Joseph said to him, 'This is the interpretation:
The three branches are three days. In three days,
Pharaoh will lift your head and give you back your position.
You will place Pharaoh's cup in his hand,
just as you did before, when you were his steward.”
- Breishit 40:11-13
The Medrash Rabah (88:5) says that based on here The Rabbis set up drinking four cups of wine on Pesach in correspondence with the four cups mentioned here.
The Kli Yakar cites Tehillim116:13 – which mentions lifting up a cup of salvation – kos yeshuot essa, as clearly illustrating the idea that a cup of wine is an appropriate manner of noting salvation. He also refers to Yirmiyahu 15:2 – “Says G-d – who to the sword - to the sword, who to death - to death, who to famine - to famine, who to incarceration – to incarceration.” In Bava Batra, Rabi Yochanan explains this line from Yirmiyahu, telling us that “whichever comes later in this line is harsher than the one before it.” This means that one who is imprisoned is harshest because his captor can stab or kill or starve him as well as any other torture he wishes to inflict on the prisoner. Thus anyone who emerges from a dungeon of captivity should raise up four cups of salvation as he was saved from four subjugations.
The Sar HaMashkim was shown in his dream that he would be saved from these four evils and the word Kos is related four times in his story to indicate that it would be appropriate for him to drink four cups of salvation. The rabbis connect to here the idea that on Pesach we are obligated to drink four cups because we were also incarcerated in Egypt and that includes being saved from four subjugations..
Rabbi Zev Frank in his Toratchah Shaashuai cites this pasuk – “He restored the chief steward to his position, and allowed him to place the cup in Pharaoh's hand.” Breishit 40:21. He suggests that this alludes to the future fifth cup of salvation.
May we each be blessed to lift up many cups of salvation in our lives and to experience the ultimate redemption speedily in our days.

No comments: