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Goblets of Gratitude

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 28/3/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

Goblets of Gratitude

Rashi gives examples of four types of people that bring a Korban Todah, thanksgiving Korban—יורדי הים, seafarers, הולכי מדברות, those who travel deserts, those released from prison and a sick person that was healed.[1] The Shulchan Aruch[2] tells us a hint to these four in the Bracha of thanks in Shemoneh Esrei, Modim, in וכל החיים יודך סלה, all those living will thank you. חיים is an acronym חולה יסורים ים מדבר.[3]


The four cups of Pesach are about thanking Hashem and as it says כוס ישועות אשא.[4] The four cups correspond to these four people. The יורדי הים to Krias Yam Suf, הולכי מדברות to the 40 years in the desert. The sick person refers to the work in Mitzrayim (and by Matan Torah they were healed from all sickness). Those released from prison refer to the Jews in Mitzrayim as Rashi in Beshalach tells us that no one ever escaped from Mitzrayim.[5] Additionally, the word כוס is 86 in Gematria, the same as אלה-ים since these four are the idea of thanking Hashem.[6] Is it any wonder that Tzav—which contains the Korban Todah—usually comes out near Pesach?!

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Rashi 7:12. See Brachos 54b and Tehillim 107. These people recite Birchas Hagomel.

[2] Orach Chaim 219.

[3] Another version of this is that it is the initials of חבוש, יסורים, ים, מדבר.

[4] Tehillim 116:13.

[5] See Maharsha in Brachos 54b, s.v. ארבעה.

[6] אלה-ים is the attribute of Din and these four that thank Hashem are saved from Midas HaDin.

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