Volume 35 Number 81
                 Produced: Mon Dec 31 22:05:20 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chamar Medina for Kiddush (2)
         [Bill Bernstein, Mark Steiner]
Grape Juice (5)
         [David Ziants, Mark Steiner, Shalom Krischer, Zev Sero, Janet
Wine (2)
         [Mark Steiner, Barak Greenfield, MD]


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2001 10:01:50 -0600
Subject: Re: Chamar Medina for Kiddush

A recent posting discussed using chamar medina (e.g. whiskey) for kiddush in
the day.  The post made the following points:
-That where wine is available it is ossur to use anything else.
-That the main kiddush is actually on the bread, so:
-The practice of filling a large cup with whiskey is unnecessary because it
is not really kiddush at all.

Although the post offered that this was not psak, nontheless it is presented
in this way.

Unfortunately these points do not agree with the psak given in Mishna
Brura (262.30) and brought as halakha in Shmiras Shabbos k'Hilkoso
53.19, who actually say the exact opposite of this post.

But in view of the fact that it is a very widespread custom to make
kiddush over shnapps in the daytime, not just in America but obviously
was the custom in Europe as well, why would someone feel the need to
point to this as something forbidden?  This post strikes a nerve with me
somehow because I have seen and heard other issues discussed where what
had formerly been a widespread practice (and maybe still is) is labeled
ossur.  The effect of this is to impugn the practices of many religious
and well-meaning Jews both today and of previous generations.  And I
guess it is this attitude of "we are better-informed and therefore more
religious than others" that bothers me.  But maybe I am overly

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 18:39:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Chamar Medina for Kiddush

Of course I am aware that what I wrote is not mentioned in any seforim
(though by the way, the use of small cups for whiskey is in fact widely
condoned by poskim for reasons mentioned by another poster). The use of
whiskey etc. for kiddush in the morning is a well established practice
at least as far back as the 16th century. I thought I had made this
clear, but for the record, I'm saying it now.  The Marshal, and
R. Sholem Shakhne, awesome figures, made kiddush on what is called
"shekhar" despite his having wine in the house.  And so did everybody
else.  The Magen Avrohom points out that this conflicts with what the
rishonim and poskim say, i.e. we have a conflict between theory and
practice.  He comes up with the theory I posted to reconcile theory and
practice.  I pointed out some consequences of his theory (his theory,
not mine).

I repeat for the record that I have no standing as a posek and meant my
posting only as a dvar torah.  My real message is, what the Chofetz
Chayim certainly would tell you: learn these laws from the Talmud and
rishonim whenever possible, don't stop with the Mishnah Berurah.

Concerning labeling something as forbidden which has always been
considered permitted, my view is the opposite.  The Mogen Avrohom went
to great lengths to reconcile contemporary practice with the theory, and
an invented what seems to us to be a far fetched rationale only because
of this practice, i.e. to permit the use of whiskey for kiddush (in the
morning).  I only pointed out the consequences if you take his reasoning
seriously.  The Mishna Berura makes no effort to reconcile custom with
the rishonim, as far as I can see, so I have no way of telling how he
would react.  And he certainly agrees that it is PREFERABLE to use wine
for kiddush.  He also cites the Vilner Gaon who never made kiddush
except at a meal (never at a "kiddush").  As a result, I know many
yeshiva talmidim and graduates who make kiddush only over wine and
before eating bread, and refuse to make kiddush in shul.

It is ironic to use the Mishna Berura here because the usual comment on
that sefer is that he ignores practice and forbids that which has been
permitted.  For example, he advises pious people not to use most city
eruvim, since the lenient ruling of the Shulchan Arukh is based on a
minority opinion!  (As a result, even in Bnei Brak, so-called "Litvishe"
hareidim do not carry in the street (they allow their wives to carry,
but that's another matter).  The Hatam Sofer would never have said such
a thing, and his descendents have no problem using eruvim.

Finally, please note that one of the consquences of the Mogel Avrohom's
reasoning I drew is a leniency!


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 16:16:33 +0200
Subject: Re: Grape Juice

Although I am not knowledgeable enough to either support or refute Mark
Steiner's arguments, my understanding concerning the permissibility of
saying morning kiddush on a small glass of whiskey is that this is based
on the opinion of the Turai Zahav (Taz).

He holds that the shiur as far as bracha achrona and kidush, is less for
whiskey, being a very strong drink which is usually drank in small
quantities, and a small amount feels like a lot.

(Sha'arei T'shuva on Orech Chayim 289:1 refers to Biur Haitev 210:1
which brings this opinion re. bracha achrona, although doesn't give much
weight to it.)

Shmirat Shabbat kehilchato allows whiskey for the morning (53:10)
l'chatchilla as permissible for someone who likes this very much, and
one has to have a full reviit. He does not allow a small quantity to be
used for kidush,(53:19) but briefly mentions the Taz in footnote 72.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

> From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
>........ Snipped .....
> (b) There is no need to fill a large cup with whiskey to make kiddush in
> the morning as some "Litvaks" claim, nor is there any need to drink a
> large quantity either, as the real kiddush is on the BREAD.  (The
> dispute over whether you need to use a big kiddush cup for whiskey would
> perforce apply only if you are really making kiddush--or havdalah--on
> the whiskey.)

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 18:58:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Grape Juice

I agree with all David's points; they would apply, whenever whiskey is
"hamar mediinah."  My point is that, to my astonishment, it seems clear
that where wine exists, nothing is hamar medinah except wine itself.
Hence some other argument needs to be given to allow making kiddush on
whiskey (in the morning), and the only thing I found was the Magen

However, even if a small amount of whiskey is allowed to be drunk for
kiddush, I think a separate argument has to be given about the size of
the cup.  After all, even if you make kiddush on wine, you don't have to
drink the entire cup but merely "taste" it (the poskim say you can get
away with 51% of a minimum size cup).  So maybe you need to use a big
cup of whiskey, but can drink just a little of it?  All I'm saying is
that another argument is needed.

Mark Steiner

From: Shalom Krischer <PGMSRK@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 16:21:56 EST
Subject: re: Grape Juice

On Sun, 23 Dec 2001, Elazar M Teitz wrote:
> What the Shulchan Aruch states is that one may squeeze a bunch of grapes
> and make Kiddush. Those who would disqualify grape juice refer to the
> pasteurized product. The difference is that the former is potential
> wine, since left to ferment it will become wine, and is thus in its
> current state considered to be unfinished wine.  The latter, on the
> other hand, can no longer become wine.

And yet, many wines today are Mevushal (boiled), which Halachically
renders them not wine (so that there would not be a problem with
non-jews and chilulei-shabbat).  According those who would disqualify
grape juice, how could they allow Yayin Mevushal?

--Shalom Krischer

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 16:43:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Grape Juice

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

> As far as the Talmud and Shulhan Arukh are concerned, "grape juice"
> which the fresh squeezed juice of the grape.  Today, this term can
> be used for reconstituted juice, where water is added to concentrate.
> There is an interesting discussion of this in R. Shlomo-Zalman
> Auerbach's sefer: the question is whether reconstitution is restoring
> the concentrate to its original status of "wine", or whether you have
> simply added water to the concentrated wine to the extent 
> that it loses its identity as wine.
> I also heard the following idea from a talmid chacham, though I don't
> know whether any of the gedolei haposkim agree: grape juice to which
> has been added an anti-fermentation chemical (like a sulfite) is not
> wine, because it has lost its potential to become wine.

And Rabbi Elazar M Teitz <remt@...> wrote:

> What the Shulchan Aruch states is that one may squeeze a bunch of
> grapes and make Kiddush. Those who would disqualify grape juice refer
> to the pasteurized product. The difference is that the former is
> potential wine, since left to ferment it will become wine, and is
> thus in its current state considered to be unfinished wine.  The
> latter, on the other hand, can no longer become wine.

All of these considerations, even if true, apply to the suitability of
the processed product for kiddush.  But the original question was mostly
about the kashrut of such juice.  As soon as the juice was squeezed by a
non-Jew, it became forbidden, and nothing that happened afterwards can
make it kosher, any more than cooking treife wine makes it kosher.  I do
not believe that there is *any* opinion, anywhere, that would permit
drinking ordinary Welch's grape juice, or eating any product containing
it.  If in the '50s it was common in certain communities in America to
drink it, then those communities were drinking forbidden wine, and their
only excuse was ignorance.

Zev Sero

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 09:41:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Grape Juice

Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
> As far as I know, grape juice is not taxed here in the US, as it is
> regarded as a food.  

It depends on the state.  Some states (e.g., Illinois) tax even foods.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 15:39:20 +0200
Subject: Re: Wine

Hillel Markowitz says:

> IIRC the gezeirah (rabbinical enactment) of "steam yeinam' (Their
> [normal] wine) was based on the original definitionof "yayin nesech"
> (wine of libations [of idols]).  Thus, the definition of wine to be
> forbidden was that which had not been cooked.  THe fact that the goyim
> now accept cooked wine for their avodas zara does not change the
> original takana (decree).
> I would think that if a priest offered someone a glass of wine from a
> bottle that had been used for communion wine, that it would be forbidden
> because of yayin nesech and not just stam yainam.

    This is pretty close to the halakhic truth, I think; but I would
like to make some minor remarks on terminology for the benefit of those
who intend to learn Tractate Avoda Zara.  It took me a long time to
figure the following out, and I would like to save others the time:

(a) The term "yayin nesekh" in the Bible means wine that has been offered as a
(b) The term "yayin neskeh" in Hazal means means what it means in the Bible,
but ALSO means wine which has been touched (stirred) by an idolater, because
of the doubt (safek) whether the idolater intended his contact (stirring) as
an offering.  Yayin nesekh of type (b) thus can be forbidden rabbinically
(mi-derabbanan), while type (a) is of course Biblical.
(c) The term "stam yaynam" in Hazal means wine owned by Gentiles, where it is
unclear whether the wine was TOUCHED.
(d) "Stam yaynam" is (contrary to popular opinion) forbidden even in benefit
(hana'ah).  This is clearly stated in the Talmud.  The incorrect common
opinion is a confusion with (e), as follows:
(e) Rabbenu Tam held that yayin nesekh (b) today is only forbidden to drink
not to have benefit from, because Gentiles today do not "know how" to make
libations.  (Of course he knew that the PRIESTS made libations, but most
Gentiles, the LAITY, do not participate themselves in the mass.  Here of
course Judaism is completely different from Christianity, as most shuls in my
neighborhood don't (unfortunately) even have rabbis.)  Of course yayin neskeh
(a) is and always was Biblically prohibited as Hillel writes.
(f) Stam Yaynam is forbidden for another reason aside from (c): fear of
drinking parties, meeting non-Jewish women, intermarrying.  [For this reason,
some hold that though a Jewish Sabbath desecrator is defined as a Gentile,
this may not apply to his wine, because there is no prohibition on marrying
his children.]
(g) The Rema, in order to "save" the Prussian Jews (who drank stam yaynam)
from hellfire, conjectured that Rabbenu Tam's view means in effect that the
ONLY reason not to drink stam yaynam is (f).  Comparing this to other such
enactments (Gentile oil, bread, etc.) which in fact lapsed, he conjectured
(after affusive apologies that he's only writing this to save the souls of the
Prussian Jews and prays that he won't be damned himself for writing it) that
there is no remaining prohibition on stam yaynam at all.
(h) This teshuva mysteriously disappeared from the collected responsa of the
Rema till it was reprinted in the most recent editions.
(i)  The Conservative movement in the U. S. found out about the teshuva anyhow
(the censors forgot to renumber the responsa and it was obvious that something
was omitted), and abrogated the prohibition on all kinds of treyf wines,
obviously not (even) the Rema's intention, to say nothing of those (vast
majority) who reject his conjecture and stay with the normative opinion
(lenient enough) of Rabbenu Tam, unvarnished.
(j) To repeat: I think that Hillel is correct about cooked wine even in light
of the information about the use of Jewish wine (and I heard also matza,
unfortunately) for mass.  Unless you know that the wine was used for a mass,
cooked wine remains ok.  The reasons are the ones he mentions (I just wanted
to "improve" his terminology).  Keep in mind also that most Gentiles do not
actually participate in the ceremonies in church at all, so that a random
Catholic who handles wine is no more likely to have in mind a religious
ceremony than his medieval ancestor, even if his Church uses Manischewitz.
(k) Jews I know stopped using Manischewitz long ago as tasting like cough
syrup.  Today we prefer Emerald Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, you name it.
The irony is as thick as Mogen David wine.

Mark Steiner

From: Barak Greenfield, MD <DocBJG@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 22:11:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Wine

Shaya Potter <spotter@...> wrote:

> as I understand it, yayin mevushal is not considered wine
> according to halacha, and therefore there is no concern of yayin nesach
> which is what is forbidden.

This is a matter of dispute, but most people seem to follow the opinion
that yayin mevushal is treated as wine, for the purposes of its bracha
and use for kiddush and arba kosos.



End of Volume 35 Issue 81