[Avodah] The Cup for the Visitor: What lies behind the Kos Shel Eliyahu?
micha at aishdas.org
Tue Mar 19 16:48:01 PDT 2013
On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 04:07:23PM -0700, Harry Maryles wrote:
: The source for the Kos Shel Eliyahu is the Machlokes about whether
: thare are 4 or 5 Leshonos of Geula... the 5th Lashon being the word
: V'Heveiso. That would call for a fifth cup of wine...
Actually, if you look through the article...
: From http://tinyurl.com/cle2efp
: [An article on The Seforim blog by R' Eliezer Brodt. -micha]
Until 1984 these were the three earliest sources that made any
mention of Kos Shel Eliyahu. In 1984, Rabbi Binyomin Nuzetz printed
parts of a manuscript of Rabbi Zeligman Benga on Pesachim. Rabbi
Benga was a grandson of Rabbi Menachem Tzioni and a close talmid
of the Maharil, and he died around 1471. Rabbi Benga writes that
he noticed some people pour a special glass of wine and call it Kos
Shel Eliyahu. He writes that a possible reason for this is that we
pour wine for Eliyahu Hanavi, since we are expecting him to come
and he will need wine for the Arba Kosos. This source helps us
date the Kos Shel Eliyahu a few hundred years earlier than previously
thought. Previously, the earliest source was printed in 1692. What is
interesting about this source is that he was not sure where the minhag
came from and, again, he mentions no connection to Shefoch Chamascha.
In 1988, the department in Machon Yerushalayim that prints early
works of German Jewry printed two volumes from manuscript from
Rabbi Yuzpeh Shamash (1604-1678) of Worms. Rabbi Yuzpeh Shamash
writes that it was the custom in Worms at the beginning of the
seder to pour one extra cup of wine. Just as we say in the Haggadah,
"Kol dichfin yesev v'yachul," we prepare a glass for the guest who
might come. This glass is called Kos Shel Eliyahu since this is the
guest we await. Rabbi Yuzpeh Shamash brings another reason why it
is called Kos Shel Eliyahu: because it is a segulah to say "Eliyahu"
to get rid of mazikim [destructive forces], and we do various things
on the seder night to chase away the mazikim.
In 1985, a manuscript of Rav Yaakov Emden was printed in the Kovetz
Kerem Shlomo of Bobov. This manuscript contained Rav Yaakov Emden's
notes on the Pesach Meuvin of Rabbi Chaim Benveniste. He says that
there is a minhag to have a Kos Shel Eliyahu but not to pour leftover
wine in a cup for him -- that would not be an honor for him at all. He
points out that the Chazal say not to drink from a cup that someone
else drank from.
And it seems the fifth lashon thing is a bit of reverse engineering. A
way to add meaning to a minhag that existed for more prosaic rasons.
Micha Berger Life isn't about finding yourself
micha at aishdas.org Life is about creating yourself.
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