August 20, 2011 | by

From my observations, wine has been the cause of the breakdown of many people's personal lives, marriages, and health. So why do so many Jewish ceremonies, (i.e. Kiddush, wedding ceremonies, Passover, Brit Milah) use wine?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

The Torah also states the danger of wine. When God warned Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, He said, "On the day you eat from it, you will die." The Talmud (Brochot 40a) states that the fruit that Adam and Eve ate was a grape, since "there is no other type of fruit that can bring man to howling to his death." (It is understood that Adam and Eve turned the grapes into wine before drinking it). Alcohol, according to the Da'at Zekanim, the 11th century commentator, is the cause of every death in the Torah.

So how is it possible that Jewish law could prescribe the use of such a toxic drink? Wouldn't it be better to use orange juice?!

In truth, grapes are a neutral object. When used purely for pleasure it causes death. Eve used the grape for her own pleasure, as it says "Eve saw that the tree looked delightful and was good for eating... so she took from the tree and ate it." (Genesis 3:6) But pleasure wasn't created to be an end in itself. Pleasure is to be enjoyed when combined with the Divine will. When combined with the Divine will, pleasure leads to holiness; when separated from God, it brings death.

With this principle, we now understand why wine is included in so many religious ceremonies. When a Jew makes Kiddush over wine, he takes something that causes base pleasure, and elevates it. When wine is used in all its holiness, the potential for abuse achieves a metaphysical correction.

1 2 3 2,899

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram