What’s With the Number 4?

March 30, 2018
by Alan Contino

Did you ever notice how many times the number 4 comes up at the Passover seder?

There are
4 cups of wine,
4 questions,
4 sons, and
4 steps to the salvation from Egypt.

Is there anything special about this number in regards to Passover?

The Vilna Gaon (an 18th century Torah scholar) explains, during the time of the Temple, when a person wanted to thank G-d, he would bring a special thank you offering. There were 4 people who were required to bring this sacrifice (others could also bring this sacrifice but in 4 cases it was an obligation): a person who crossed a sea, a person who crossed a desert, a person who was healed, and a person who got out of jail. If you think about it, you will notice all these happened to the Jewish people when they left Egypt.

We went out into the desert, crossed the Red Sea, left the jail of Egypt, and the Talmud says all the sick were miraculously healed. The night of Passover is one in which we need to remember to thank G-d for all the miracles he did for us, and the number 4 helps us remember them.

Think about it!

About the Author

Rabbi Tzvi Jacobson, Host of Let’s Talk Torah on the NRM Streamcast Community Channel

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Let's Talk Torah on NRM Streamcast

I am the Director of Development and the 3rd Grade Judaic studies teacher for Yeshivas Darchei Torah located in Southfield, Michigan. In these roles, I am able to pursue both my passions; teaching children and meeting people from all walks of life who share an interest in the education of children.

I love to be challenged; whether in the classroom helping a child with learning or behavior difficulties, or helping Yeshivas Darchei Torah meet its financial obligation.

As a teacher, I like to keep my students guessing what’s next. Whether it’s puppet shows, stories, trips or programs, my classroom is always warm and exciting. I enjoy studying Torah, and I love to share.