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Why is it permitted to drink wine on Passover when it is fermented with yeast?

Why is it permitted to drink wine on Passover when it is fermented with yeast?



Why is it permitted to drink wine on Passover when it is fermented with yeast? Isn't yeast forbidden on Passover?


Of the hundreds of species of yeast, the Passover prohibition only applies to yeast which is a product of one of the following five grains: wheat, barley, oat, spelt, or rye. Yeast which is the product of grapes, or its sugars, is not considered chametz (leavened food).

Click here for more about chametz.

Have a Kosher and happy Passover!

Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski

Dovid Zaklikowski is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn. Dovid and his wife Chana Raizel are the proud parents of four: Motti, Meir, Shaina & Moshe Binyomin.
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Tom Stinnett Tennessee April 10, 2017

"Of the hundreds of species of yeast, the Passover prohibition only applies to yeast which is a product of one of the following five grains." As I understand it yeast is not the product of the grains, but rather the grains in their risen state are the product of the yeast. The yeast are microbial organisms that have contaminated the grain. These are the same organisms that cause wine sugars to ferment and grains to swell. So, if the prohibition is against leaven, then wine should be included. But, if the prohibition is against unleavened "bread" then act accordingly. However, I believe the real message is to show us how difficult or impossible it is to remain uncontaminated from the influence of sin. Reply

DDX March 27, 2017

We do not focus on the bread If only we would focus on the bread. Instead we are distracted by hundreds of other foods that are not even mentioned in the Torah--beans, rice, seeds, corn syrup, etc. This is the key quote: "Then Moses told the people, "Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, from the house of bondage, because the L-rd brought you out from this place with a strong show of force. Moreover, nothing leavened is to be eaten." Nothing leavened. G-od was very clear about what He wanted us to eat and not eat. But some men decided that they knew better and "reinterpreted" G-od's words to fit with their own ideals, and suddenly we can eat Passover cakes and rolls leavened with eggs and baking soda but we can't eat green beans or peas. Reply

Anonymous March 27, 2017

Non-grain yeast Bread risen with non-grain yeast is still chametz because it is bread made from grain.
The Pesach story was about bread rising which shows ego, bread that has not risen shows humility. In this instance, in the story of Pesach it was about the bread, so that is how we commemorate it. Not using any food that rises is an interesting point, but I think it is the bread we are focusing on. Reply

DDX March 27, 2017

Non-Grain Yeast is Permitted? Sorry, but that makes zero sense. If non-grain yeast is permitted, then bread risen with non-grain yeast would also be permitted.

Forget the yeast--the emphasis should be on avoiding risen foods. Period. Nothing risen should be permitted, and it shouldn't matter if the food has risen due to yeast, eggs or baking soda. The entire point of the Exodus story is that there was not enough time to allow for the bread to rise before baking it due to the need to flee Egypt as soon as possible. That bread had yeast in it, but it was unrisen bread. So avoiding risen foods would be much more in keeping with the spirit of Passover than simply avoiding yeast. Reply

Simcha Bart for April 4, 2017
in response to DDX:

I hear your point about risen grain - yet that is your opinion. Torah, on the other hand, does not just say don't use anything risen. Rather Torah is specific in using terms that have always been determined to mean yeast made from the five grains which is called Se'or in the Torah.


Anonymous March 26, 2017

Nothing to do with yeast It has nothing to with yeast, it has to do with grain, if the yeast comes from grain then it is chametz, if the yeast comes from the grape then it is not. Chametz is about grain not yeast. Reply

Herb March 7, 2017

drinking Wine Why do people take issue when someone drinks a glass or two of wine during the Passover Reply

Tamir Santa Fe April 26, 2016

Yeast is in the air naturally. Who determined that the yeast that ferments grape juice is not chametz? I do not see that in torah. What Torah verse is this ruling from? Reply

Steve May 6, 2015

Actually, the answer to the original question is this all yeast is burned up during the fermentation process. The dregs fall to the bottom of the vat and are removed. There is no yeast in wine after it has been fermented. The rabbi is also wrong. No yeast is to be found in the house on Passover. Reply

Ze'ev Texas April 3, 2015

Yeast is not a product of any grain. Yeasts are eukaryotic microorganisms that can live in a variety of environments, mostly as a commensal parasites. Reply

Anonymous April 3, 2015

How is yeast a "product" of something else? It's the same yeast involved for beer fermentation as in wine so why is beer not kosher and wine is? Makes no sense. Reply

shaul wolf brooklyn April 18, 2014

Re: This is ridicuolus I believe the answer to your question is answered in the article and in the comments. The Torah did not prohibit yeast on Passover. Rather it prohibited the five grains when they will rise, which is a byproduct of yeast. It is the rising of the grains that is forbidden, not the yeast itself. Reply

Yasin Al Amin Bacour Amstelveen April 17, 2014

Things we didn't know in the past. Eh... there is no yeast difference. You mean fermentation products. The yeast in bread is still yeast as is the yeast in wine. So fermented grapes are okay, but fermented bread not and also no beer because these are both grain products.

Basically the people that made up the rules didn't know how yeast works and didn't even know microbial life was the reason things fermented. That's why they excluded bread and beer, because they are made from fermented grains, but ignored fermented grapes, despite the same yeast being in the product. (I think it's even the same species)

You're free to believe whatever you want to believe about the validity of your holy books, but understand there's a big (I say 100%) human element to it and this means that often there's not a good reason for why things are done other than tradition. Reply

Anonymous April 17, 2014

This is ridiculous! Ashkenazi jews will out law rice beans and salt yet not wine? Wine is hametz regardless how you look at it even more so then rice. Alcohol is a by product of yeast! Reply

Anonymous April 15, 2014

Yeast with tendrils? This is hilarious. Yeast is a fungus, a unicellular organism. As others have pointed out, yeast has nothing to do with this conversation. If so, we wouldn't be able to take showers or breathe the air; yeast is everywhere! Reply

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman March 22, 2013

Re: Nutritional Yeast? That is true, but you would need qualified supervision to determine that the yeast was not produced together with other forms of yeast. Lallemand Wine has kosher certification for Passover. Look them up on the web, or ask your local health food provider. Reply

Anonymous March 21, 2013

Nutritional Yeast? So by your argument nutritional yeast products made from grape yeast should be OK for consumption on Passover? There is from of Marmite that is made from champagne grape yeast and this would be a very nutritious food to help vegans survive Passover. Reply

Sholom detroit, mi September 16, 2012

re: david shabbat Beer isn't kosher for Passover because it comes from fermented grains which is chametz. So although grains and grapes both contain yeasts not all yeasts are equal in the Torah's eyes.

The Torah forbids possession and consumption of chametz and yeast. Chametz is a fermented grain and yeast is the yeast found in the grain which causes the fermentation.
As the rabbi pointed out above, yeast used in kosher for Passover wine production is not collected from the grain; often and ideally it comes from the skin of the grape itself. That's why it is kosher for Passover. In other words: yeast in wine is not the yeast forbidden on Passover. Reply

sholom detroit, mi September 16, 2012

re: kevin; in your scenario the flour never leavened since it was baked to completion within 18 minutes. the definition of chametz is a dough (made of flour, from one of the grains listed in the Torah, and water) fermented 18 minutes. The Torah also and separately forbids possession and consumption of yeast collected from one of the five grains. Reply

Nicola Sheffield, South Yorkshire April 6, 2012

The answer The reason wine is allowed and bread is not has nothing to do with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the budding yeast, which happens to be my favourite fungi. It converts sugars and oxygen into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

chamets contain at least one of five types of grains outlined in the texts (spelt and rye have been added to the list as they didn't grow in Israel.) They cannot be left to rise for more than 18 minutes. There is no rising of wine, hence wine is allowed.

I hope that helps. Have a great pesach. Reply

Anonymous March 27, 2012

Re: Beer The reason beer is not kosher for Passover, is because of the malted barley and not because of the yeast. Reply

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