Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Daf Yomi - Taanis 7 - GLASS CUPS BY THE SEDER

"Woe, that such beautiful wisdom must sit in such an ugly container," Caesar's daughter said to R' Yehoshua ben Chananya, intimating that he might be wise, but definitely not handsome.

"Tell me," he answered her, "doesn't your father keep wine in the earthenware vessels?"

"What other vessels should he use?" she asked him. "Surely, everyone keeps wine in earthenware vessels?"

"Important people like you," he declared, "should use nothing less than gold and silver."

She told this to her father, and he transferred his wine to gold and silver vessels. The wine soured.

"Who advised you to do this?" the king asked her.

"Rebbi Yehoshua ben Chananya," she answered. He summoned R' Yehoshua.

"Why did you tell my daughter this?" he asked.

"I only spoke to her," said R' Yehoshua, "as she spoke to me. She should have realized that just as wine keeps best in plain earthenware vessels, so wisdom only keeps in plain people."

"But surely, there are also good-looking people that are wise?" the king asked.

"If people did not admire them for their good looks," R' Yehoshua answered, "They would be much more learned. To remember wisdom, a person needs great humility, and for people that others admire, this is very difficult.”

It was the custom of the Sanz-Kloizenberg Rebbe that he would only use glass cups for the wine of the four cups on the night of the Seder. The rest of Pesach, he would use his silver cup.

It was said over that the reason for this custom is based on our Gemora which states that wine keeps best in plain earthenware vessels. Since the wine for the four cups will be inside the glass for an extended period of time, it is better to use a glass cup that one made out of gold or silver.