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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 the director of Lubavitch Archives, a freelance journalist and public speaker. Dovid and his wife Chana Raizel are the proud parents of four: Motti, Meir, Shaina & Moshe Binyomin.
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Discussion (21)
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.
shaul wolf
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.
Yasin Al Amin Bacour
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!
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!
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.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
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.
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.
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.
detroit, mi
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.
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
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.
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