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A Bomb On The Ran!

What is it called when Mrs. Klein gives birth to another child? Re-Klein-ing.

In the 1970's there was a popular show called the "Gong Show". People would perform and if the judges weren't enjoying they would pick up a stick and GONG on a big bell. That joke would have gotten gonged.

Anyway, the Gemara [Pesachim 108a] says that we only have to recline for 2 of the four cups. But since we are not sure whether we must recline for the first two or the last two in order to be safe we recline for all four. The Ran asks: We know that reclining is only a Rabbinic obligation and the rule is that when in doubt we are lenient. So we should not have to recline at all. He answers that if we are lenient and don't recline at all then the entire law of reclining will be rendered obsolete. That cannot happen! And if we recline for only two out of the four cups, what basis do we have to prefer one pair over the other. So we are compelled to recline for all four.

The Mishna Lamelech dropped a bomb on the Ran!! The very same Ran says in Megilla that if we are in doubt as to whether a city is walled from the time of Yehoshua Bin Nun [and reads Megilla on the 15th] or not [and they would read on the 14th] we read on the 14th only!! But you Rabbi Ran [reminds me of an old Bruce Springsteen song "Born To Ran"] taught us in Pesachim that we have no reason to prefer reclining for two of the cups over the other two and we therefore recline for all four. So why do we prefer the 14th over the 15th. According to the principal of the Ran in Pesachim we should read on both days??!!!

More answers have been given to this question than the number of security guards in Israel.

What do you think.

If each cup, or at the very least each group of two, is unique and has what to offer and contribute to both the entirety of the סדר and to those participating in it, then one cannot choose to add the element of הסיבה to either group.

It seems to me, however, that reading the מגילה on a specific day, be it the 14th or 15th, is more commemoratory than anything else. It would seem to me that reading the מגילה on the 14th is no different from reading on the 15th. This is especially true if the Shushan would have established a day of rejoicing on the 14th had they not asked for another day to fight. Put differently, if the fight was over there is no reason for me to assume that they would have not rejoiced on that day, a day that would have been considered a "יו"ט" for them as well. I do not see the מגילה readings as qualitatively disparate. Granted that the context of the day upon which they are read is different, but that difference is simply a reflection of when they succeeded in battle.

That being said, it is quite possible to distinguish between the two מגילה readings and the 4 כוסות. Should one think for some reason, whether it be based on the distinct לשונות of גאולה or otherwise, that the 4 כוסות are qualitatively different, such that while they appear to be the same act of drinking wine their unique context and placement in the סדר gives them a singular status, then one cannot choose which cups are deserving of the special הסיבה element. (This is not withstanding the fact that, if I remember correctly, one is יוצא if one drinks them בבת אחת and destroys their special context in the סדר, because that is only בדיעבד.)

This is obviously a proposition that I am making and I have no basis for it.

Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-a-ran...

Another bomb... does this mean that I have to make another Purim costume?

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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