Halacha for Monday 3 Nissan 5782 April 4 2022

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation customarily follows this order on the night of Pesach, as is printed in all Machzorim and Haggadot. Thank G-d, nowadays, there are many revised editions of the “Passover Haggadah” available that clearly delineate the proper way to conduct the entire Pesach Seder. Anyone who is leading a Pesach Seder would act wisely to purchase a Haggadah compiled according to the views of the leading rabbinical authorities of the generation. (We suggest using the Pesach Haggadah entitled “Chazon Ovadia” which was authored by Maran Rabbeinu zt”l and has since been printed several times in several new and beautiful editions. This Haggadah is especially helpful through its instruction on how to properly lead a Pesach Seder.)

Which Wine to Purchase for the Seder
The wine upon which one blesses “Boreh Peri Ha’Gefen” during the Seder and all year round must halachically consist of at least a majority of actual grape juice (some are more stringent and require more than this amount). Wine that has a large amount of water or sugar mixed in it does not retain the blessing of “Boreh Peri Ha’Gefen,” rather, its blessing is “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro” just as it is simple that soft drinks which contain approximately ten percent grape juice require the “Shehakol” blessing. One should therefore purchase only wine or grape juice which is known to retain the “Boreh Peri Ha’Gefen” blessing even according to the opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch.

Grape Juice
If it is difficult for one to drink wine at the Seder, one may drink grape juice and one satisfactorily fulfills one’s obligation of drinking the Four Cups in this way. If one acts stringently and uses specifically wine or wine mixed with some grape juice, this is especially praiseworthy.

The Amount of Wine One Must Drink
The amount of wine one must drink during the Seder is one “Revi’it” per cup, which is approximately 81 cc (or approximately 2.8 fluid ounces) per cup to be drunk without interruption, which means that one must drink all 81 cc in one shot (meaning without interruption) for every cup drunk. However, if one drinks only a majority of a Revi’it which is approximately 45 cc (or approximately 1.5 fluid ounces), one has fulfilled one’s obligation and need not drink that cup again.

An Ill Individual
One who has difficulty drinking an entire Revi’it of wine and acts leniently and only drinks a majority of a Revi’it every time should be careful at least for the third or fourth cup to drink an entire Revi’it so that one may recite the “Al Ha’Gefen” blessing afterwards. (This is because regarding the “Al Ha’Gefen” blessing, which is the blessing recited after drinking wine, a majority of a Revi’it is insufficient to recite this blessing.)

Even someone who finds it difficult to drink wine must drink wine during the Pesach Seder. The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilay suffered so much from drinking the four cups of wine at the Seder that he needed to tie his temples from Pesach until Shavuot from the pain. Nevertheless, he did not forgo this Mitzvah.

If one suffers from diabetes and has been instructed not to drink the four cups of wine (or grape juice), such an individual may not drink the four cups and it is forbidden for him to try and act stringently.

Summary: One should only purchase wine with a respectable Kashrut supervision which upholds the Sephardic customs as well. If one cannot drink wine, one may drink grape juice instead. One should drink the four cups of wine based on the order set forth in the Haggadah. For every cup, one should drink at least 2.8 fluid ounces of wine. If it is exceedingly difficult for one to drink, one may be lenient and drink only a majority of a Revi’it, i.e., approximately 1.5 ounces. (One should, nevertheless, drink an entire Revi’it for the third or fourth cup.)

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