The Rabbi mentioned in his lecture tonight that we are expected to rejoice at the downfall of the wicked. If that’s really true, then why do we take drops of wine out of the cup of wine at the Seder?
This gentleman is asking, why is the cup of wine diminished by drops at the Seder? Which means that this person has heard that the significance is that the suffering of the wicked is a diminishing of our happiness.
Now I want to tell you people something that will come in handy. There are many explanations that have been invented to suit the modern taste. But at this table the principle is that we’re suiting nobody’s taste except the truth.
Now, I understand that if I had to speak someplace else I couldn’t speak on this subject. And that’s because the spirit of the gentile world is not to exalt in vengeance. No; they only exalt in killing Jews, and in gas chambers and crematoria. They wouldn’t think of such a wicked thing as vengeance. The Pope and the bishops of the Anglican Church are very much interested in the nobler aspects of life. And so when the Jews were being shipped off to the death camps and being burned at the rate of twenty-thousand a day, so the Pope was busy talking about peace, and brotherhood and the love of all man. And the archbishop of the church of England was busy talking about brotherhood and friendship. All the time, words of love were gushing forth from these two fountains of saintliness. But never did one of them speak up that it’s time to stop murdering Jews – maybe instead of twenty-thousand Jews a day, maybe they should kill only ten thousand Jews a day. No, this they didn’t even try. Twenty-thousand, that’s fine. It’s good enough. It’s not thirty-thousand, they said. What do you want already?
And so nobody intervened for the Jews. But at the same time they would disdain to say such wicked thoughts that I’m saying here tonight; about rejoicing in the downfall of would-be murderers, and in the downfall of such terrible oppressors as the Egyptians were. To rejoice in their downfall is a righteous thing?! That they would never say!
So the modern rabbis who are paid by the Sisterhood are busy reinterpreting the Torah in a way that is acceptable to them. And therefore, after a while it becomes widespread in the Jewish street that this is a Torah attitude – that you take out drops of wine in order to signify that our happiness is diminishing because of the suffering of the wicked.
And I want to tell you, even if you saw it in a chassidishesefer, don’t be excited. I can tell you that not everything that is printed, even lashon kodeshdika seforim, deserves to be read. And even some seforim that are three-hundred and four-hundred years old.
You have to use discretion in what you read. Drush has been in force for at least three-hundred years, so don’t be excited even if you saw this in a sefer. It’s absolutely not true! That’s not the significance of this minhag.
And if you want – now, I’m just telling you a guess of mine, but if you want a more true significance, I’ll tell you that we’re shedding the blood of the Egyptians when we drip the drops from the cup, because we’re happy על דם רשעים שנשפך, about the blood of the wicked that has been spilled. That’s a different explanation, a better explanation.
Now of course, if I was out in Westchester or in Scarsdale, and I was giving a pre-Pesach class to the Ladies’ Auxiliary, I would speak about something else. So, it may be that you saw this in some good sefer, but I’m not impressed anyhow. You have to know that not everything printed is worth repeating.
TAPE # 26 (April 1974)