Transcribed by Anna Beller: The Gemara on Pesachim says as follows: You know there are a total of 4 cups of wine we drink in the Hagadah. So there is a debate in the Gemara about which of the cups of wine you have to lean when you drink. One opinion says that you have to drink the first two cups of wine when you’re leaning because this is when freedom is beginning, as you’re going through the telling the story of the Hagadah and how they are going out to freedom. So its while you’re going out to freedom you act it out so you can enjoy the going into freedom. However, the last 2 cups of wine, whatever happened, happened. You’re already free so you don’t have to act out freedom, you only lean for the first two.
And there are those who say the opposite, you need to lean for the last 2 cups of wine. Why? Because its only at the time of the second two cups of wine that you can experience freedom. With the first two cups of wine, you’re still remembering being a slave. The issue they want to explain, the debate is based on a fundamental difference as to what is happening at the Seder night.
The whole idea of this debate is the first 2 cups of wine the freedom is beginning even though you still experience a level of servitude. Since you’re still experiencing the servitude it gives you a taste for freedom. Only when you experience servitude that freedom has the special flavor. The first two you have the sense of being slaves that allows you to enjoy the freedom that’s coming. And with the last two cups of wine, even though now you’re experiencing total freedom you have forgotten what its like to be a slave. The freedom is so powerful you forget entirely the experience of being a slave. And therefore you even have lost part of the pleasure of being free. Because the pleasure of being free is more intense is when you’re feeling servitude. Guys who are going to prison as long as they’re in prison when they dream of leaving it’s a fantastic dream, when they are already free and not behind bars, the freedom looses its thrill. It’s in the first moment that the freedom feels powerful.
For example someone who’s starving and just beginning to eat even before he’s full, since he’s still a little bit hungry the food is more enjoyable. But when he’s full and not hungry, he doesn’t enjoy the sense of fullness as much as he did the eating. Feeling full is not as great as being hungry and enjoying the food. In the desert and you get to drink you enjoy it, but since your drinking its not as enjoyable as when you first get the water. There are certain advantages of tasting the freedom and advantages of being free. This is the basis of the argument.
Those who say you have to lean for the first two cups is because this is when you’re actually tasting freedom, so it’s more enjoyable to lean and fantasize about the freedom when you’re enslaved. But when you’re at the last 2 cups you’re already free so it’s not as enjoyable.
However there are those who say that its the last two cups that are more important because since he’s totally free and he doesn’t taste the servitude at all, so you’re losing some of the taste, you’re forgetting it’s a process of beginning to be free. You’re forgetting part of what it meant, so you’re restoring the joy of being free when you’re leaning. It’s a way of giving you back what you had in the first 2 cups. They say that since the two reasons are so powerful you lean for all four.
You see every little detail in the Haggadah has a powerful point about it.