[Avodah] The Cup for the Visitor: What lies behind the Kos Shel Eliyahu?

Rafael Jason Hecht rhecht at gmail.com
Thu Mar 21 13:34:34 PDT 2013

There is one thing that the article missed. There is a Rambam that
maintains that one should drink 5 cups. Yemenites follow this custom, as do
a number of Chasidic groups: "Kotzk, Shochachov and Izbitz."

Also, *"there is an open question in the Talmud whether we are obligated to
have four or five cups on the night of Passover. Since the issue was never
resolved, we pour a fifth cup, but do not drink it* [i.e. a "Teiku" which
requires Eliyahu's involvement]*.*
*After heralding the coming of the Messiah, one of Elijah's tasks will be
to resolve all hitherto unanswered halachic questions. Thus this fifth cup
whose status is in doubt is dubbed "Elijah's Cup," in anticipation of the
insight he will shed on the matter."*

Read more:


Best Regards,

Rafi Hecht
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On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 8:51 AM, Prof. Levine <llevine at stevens.edu> wrote:

>  From http://tinyurl.com/cle2efp
> One of the memorable parts of the *seder* night is during *Shefoch
> Chamascha* when we open the door for Eliyahu Hanavi to come inside and
> drink from the *Kos Shel Eliyahu*. Children all over the world look
> carefully to see if there is less wine in the cup after he leaves, while
> many adults ‘accidently’ shake the table to make sure that there is less
> wine. What are the sources of this custom? When do we pour the kos of wine
> and what should we do with the leftover wine from the *kos*­drink it,
> spill it out, or save it? In this article I hope to trace this custom to
> its earliest known sources and to discuss some other aspects of the seder
> night related to this topic.[1] I would like to point out that my
> intention in this article is not to collect all the sources and reasons on
> these specific topics but rather to focus on the earliest sources and how
> these various *minhagim* came about.[2]
> To begin with, it is worth pointing out that as far as we know today,
> there is no mention of the concept of Kos Shel Eliyahu in all of the
> literature that we have from the Geonim and Rishonim. Neither is there
> mention of it in the Tur, Shulchan Orach, Rema, or other early commentators
> on the Shulchan Orach.
> See the above URL for more. YL
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