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    In the beginning of Para-
    shat Vaera we read of the

    famous “Arba Leshonot

    Ge’ula” – “four expres-
    sions of redemption.” Hash- em told Moshe to convey to

    Beneh Yisrael His promise to “take them” from
    Egypt, to “save them” from bondage, to “re- deem them,” and to “take them” as His special
    nation (“Ve’hoseti,” “Ve’hisalti,” “Ve’ga’alti,”
    “Ve’lakahti”). Many people are familiar with
    the teaching of the Talmud Yerushalmi in
    Masechet Pesahim that the four cups of wine
    we drink at the Seder on Pesah commemorate
    these four promises.

    What is less known, however, is the sec-
    ond explanation of the four cups given by the

    Yerushalmi. Surprisingly, the Yerushalmi asso-
    ciates this Misva with the dream of Pharaoh’s

    cup-bearer, as he reported it to Yosef. The
    cup-bearer dreamt of squeezing grapes into

    Pharaoh’s cup and then handing the cup to Pha-
    raoh, and Yosef correctly interpreted this vision

    as foretelling the cup-bearer’s imminent release
    from prison and reinstatement to his post. The
    word “Kos” (“cup”) appears four times in the
    story of the cup-bearer’s dream, and we thus
    commemorate this dream by drinking four
    cups of wine at the Seder on Pesah.
    The obvious question arises, what connection
    is there between the cup-bearer’s dream and the

    Pesah celebration? Why is it important to re-
    member this dream as we celebrate the Exodus

    from Egypt?

    The answer can be found in the special “dis-
    count” which Beneh Yisrael received in Egypt.

    In one of Hashem’s prophecies to Abraham

    Avinu, He informed the patriarch that his de-
    scendants would endure 400 years of suffering

    and persecution in a foreign land. In Parashat
    Bo (12:40), the Torah tells us that the precise
    number of years was actually 430. Yet, Beneh
    Yisrael ended up spending only 210 years in
    Egypt. Many different explanations have been
    given for this remarkable “discount.” Some
    explain that the work was so difficult and so
    intense that Beneh Yisrael completed in just
    210 years the amount of slave labor that would
    normally be performed over the course of 400

    years. Others claim that Beneh Yisrael’s su-
    pernatural population growth in Egypt meant

    that the slave labor was performed by an ex-
    ceptionally large number of people, such that

    they completed the decreed period of slavery
    in just 210 years. Another famous answer is
    that Beneh Yisrael had plummeted to the “49th
    level of impurity,” and had they remained any
    longer, they would have fallen to the 50th level,
    from which they would have been unable to

    recover. And so although they were to have re-
    mained for another 190 years, Hashem could

    not let them stay a moment longer.
    Regardless of how we understand the reason

    for this “discount,” we can trace its roots to Yo-
    sef, specifically, to the system he set in place

    when he served as vizier over Egypt.
    Towards the end of Parashat Vayigash, we
    read that during the years of famine in Egypt,
    Yosef essentially revamped the country’s entire

    economy. On behalf of Pharaoh, Yosef pur-
    chased all the agricultural lands

    in Egypt in exchange for grain,
    such that the people worked as

    serfs for Pharaoh. Yosef estab-
    lished that the people must pay

    20 percent of their produce to
    Pharaoh, and they may then
    keep the other 80 percent. The
    Torah emphasizes that Yosef
    made this a “Hok” – an official
    rule, that the farmers paid 20
    percent and kept the remaining
    80 percent.
    At first glance, it seems difficult to understand
    why the Torah gives us this information. Why
    is it important for us to know the economic
    policy that Yosef enacted when he ruled over

    The answer, perhaps, is that Yosef, propheti-
    cally foreseeing the slavery and bondage that

    Beneh Yisrael would soon endure, wanted to
    help them by establishing a rule allowing an 80
    percent “discount.” The policy Yosef enacted
    for the Egyptians was applicable also to Beneh

    Yisrael vis-à-vis the decree that they would en-
    dure a 430-year period of exile. The Midrash

    teaches that although Beneh Yisrael spent 210
    years in Egypt, they were enslaved only when
    Miriam, Moshe’s sister, was born – 86 years
    before the Exodus. It emerges, then, that Beneh

    Yisrael suffered for only 20 percent of the pe-
    riod that was decreed – 86 years, instead of 430

    years. This is the deeper significance of Yosef’s
    enacting this policy in Egypt.
    With this in mind, we can return to the story

    of the cup-bearer’s dream, and understand
    why the dream is worthy of commemoration
    on Pesah. The word “Kos” in Gematria equals
    86. When Yosef saw how the word “Kos”

    was used four times in the context of the cup-
    bearer’s dream, he realized that he was being

    assigned a mission – to reduce four times the
    value of the word “Kos” (86) from the decree

    issued against his people. Therefore, upon ris-
    ing to the position of vizier, in the capacity of

    which he managed the Egyptian economy, he
    put in place this policy of paying just 20 percent
    – so that Beneh Yisrael would be able to leave
    after “paying” just 20 percent of the period of
    slavery that had been decreed, 86 years instead
    of 430 years.

    This is why we commemorate the cup-bear-
    er’s dream at the Seder. This dream is what fa-
    cilitated the 80-percent “discount” that our an-
    cestors received. The four instances of the word

    “Kos” in the context of that dream is what led
    to the reduction of four times the word “Kos”
    from the decree of slavery, enabling Beneh Yis-