L'chayim! About Kosher Wine
We use it for ceremonial occasions. We make a special
blessing over it. We savor it. The fruit of the vine, the nectar of
the gods. Wine.Judaism is replete with images of wine and its power.
The Bible has a total of 141 references. The psalmist even declares
that "yayin yisamach levav enosh", that "wine gladdens the heart
The Talmud is actually the original source of the classic Jewish toast,
"to life" L'chayim (Megillah 16b). And Rabbi Eleazar asserts that
aged wine is one of the treasures of Egypt that Joseph sent to his
father. There is even a story in the tractate Avodah Zara about a
rabbi who is cured of an intestinal ailment by drinking 70-year-old
apple wine. Where wine is absent, medicine is necessary, declares
the Talmud (BB 58b).
Legends and myths surrounding the mystery of wine abound in Jewish
lore and learning. The Midarsh Rabbah of Genesis goes so far as to
assert that Adam ate of the vine - and not of that other fruit. The
glories of wine and drink are found in a variety of sources. During
the Talmudic period the rabbis actually suggest that wine is helpful
in achieving profound thoughts and Rav Huna concurs by asserting that
wine helps open the heart to reasoning.
Historically, it is interesting to note that the Jews of the Land
of Israel developed an expertise in wine and there is much discussion
of wine, its production and its export. As for the Jews of Babylonia,
however, they had more interest in beer.
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