Halacha for Monday 27 Cheshvan 5780 November 25 2019

Cooked Wine

Yesterday, we have explained that a Jew who publicly desecrates Shabbat and touches wine causes the wine to be forbidden, similar to the law of a non-Jew. The question becomes, when a religious son spends Shabbat with his non-religious parents and they made sure to purchase kosher wine but the father insists on pouring the wine for Kiddush, how can one avoid the prohibition of consuming forbidden wine without insulting one’s father?

Cooked Wine
Cooked wine, i.e. wine which was boiled over a fire, does not become prohibited when touched by a non-Jew. The Poskim explain that the reason why our Sages did not forbid cooked wine is because such wine was uncommon during the times of the Sages and their enactment therefore did not apply to it. The Rosh writes likewise (there are other reasons for this which we shall not discuss at this time). Thus, it is clear according to Halacha that a non-Jew touching cooked wine does not prohibit it, as Maran rules in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 123). Nevertheless, this only applies if the wine was cooked before being touched by the non-Jew, as we have explained regarding brandy; however, if the non-Jew touches the wine before it was cooked, even if it is cooked afterwards, the wine remains forbidden and may not be consumed.

Pasteurized Wine
The Poskim disagree regarding whether or not pasteurized wine (which is not actual boiling) shares the same law as cooked wine, for there is room to claim that only wine which has actually reached boiling point does not become forbidden when touched by a non-Jew but wine which has only been pasteurized cannot be considered cooked wine.

Indeed, Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l rules that only wine which has been cooked to a point when its appearance has changed does not become forbidden; however, wine which was merely pasteurized and whose appearance remains the same is not considered cooked wine since even the non-Jew cannot tell that the wine has been cooked. He adds that according to the Rosh, the reason why cooked wine is permissible is because in those times, cooked wine was uncommon and the enactment of our Sages never applies to it. Nowadays, however, when cooked wine is very common, this reason should not be relied upon. Hagaon Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l ruled likewise.

After dealing with this matter at length, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that since our Sages never enacted that such wine should become forbidden, we cannot create new enactments of our own in order to forbid it. Although such cooked wine is quite common nowadays, since it was uncommon in the times of our Sages and their enactment subsequently never applied to it, it can never again become forbidden afterwards, for we do not have the authority to establish enactments the way the Sages of the Talmud did.

The Bottom Line
Halachically speaking, as long as the wine is pasteurized well, i.e. heated to a temperature of eighty degrees Celsius (or 176 degrees Fahrenheit), the wine can no longer become forbidden by being touched by a non-Jew (unless it is actually poured as an offering to an idol, in which case it certainly becomes forbidden by Torah law).

Regarding our question, there is certainly room for leniency if the son purchases specifically pasteurized wine, such as most grape juice on the market and other lower quality wines. In this way, there will be no concern if the non-Shabbat observant father wishes to pour the wine for him.

(When Maran zt”l served as Chief Rabbi of Israel, he instructed the Rishon Le’Zion Winery to pasteurize all of their wines to a temperature of eighty degrees Celsius, which would give the wine “cooked” status.)

Summary: Pasteurized wine does not become forbidden when touched by a non-Jew. It certainly does not become forbidden when touched by a non-Shabbat observant Jew. Similarly, if such wine was poured by a Jew who is not Shabbat observant, the wine is not forbidden for consumption at all and one may recite Kiddush upon it and drink it.

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