web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Grape Juice At The Seder

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Question: May one use grape juice for the arba kosos?

Answer: Many years ago the hechsher on grape juice stated that only the “old, sick, or minors” were permitted to use grape juice for kiddush and the arba kosos.

Rav Nissan Telushkin, a great talmid chacham and the author of halachic works on the laws of mikveh, once articulated his halachic qualms regarding manufactured grape juice. He believed that bottled grape juice was qualitatively different than juice squeezed from a cluster of grapes. Juice that has just been squeezed from grapes may yet ferment into wine. However, bottled grape juice – because of the way it’s processed – will never ferment into wine. It will never have alcoholic content.

But why must it have alcoholic content? The basis for this requirement is Pesachim 108b where R. Yehuda states that “it must possess the taste and appearance of wine.” Raba provides the source for R. Yehuda’s statement – Proverbs 23:31: “Look not upon the wine when it is red.” The Rashbam explains that this verse takes it as a given that wine is red. And the redness of wine, writes the Rashbam, implies an alcoholic element to it. What the verse is saying is that the alcoholic content of wine should not be judged by its redness.

Another source for the necessity of wine having alcoholic content is Psalms 106:15, which states, “And wine gladdens the heart of man.” Since wine probably makes people happy because of its alcoholic content, it would appear that wine must have alcohol in it.

Thus, at first glance, it would seem that bottled grape juice, which lacks alcoholic content, cannot be used for kiddush or the arba kosos.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 272:4), however, seems to suggest otherwise. Despite R. Yehuda’s statement in the Gemara that wine must be red, the Shulchan Aruch rules one may use white wine for kiddush.

The Gaon of Vilna (Biur HaGra, O.C. 272:4) suggests that the Shulchan Aruch read R. Yehuda’s statement as a halachic preference rather than a halachic ruling. Moreover, another tanna in Pesachim 108 mentions nothing about wine having to be red, which suggests that he disagrees with R. Yehuda. If so, the Shulchan Aruch is simply ruling like the first tanna against R. Yehuda.

Since the requirement for wine to have alcoholic content stems from the same Gemara that states that wine must be red, it would seem that by ruling that wine need not be red, the Shulchan Aruch is implying that it also need not have alcoholic content. Thus, bottled grape juice would be acceptable for kiddush and the arba kosos.

(It is interesting to note that the Mishnah Berurah (272:10) writes that all authorities believe red wine is preferred lechat’chila. The Mishnah Berurah therefore also likely believes that wine should preferably have alcoholic content.)

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Grape Juice At The Seder”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    At ecumenical sedarim, grape juice would be served. Because many Protestant denominations do not believe in the consumption of alcohol.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Once this took place, no Beit Din could annul its practice but for an entirely different reason. A minhag accepted by klal Yisrael becomes an obligation that must be practiced.

Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/grape-juice-at-the-seder/2013/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: