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Ma'achalot Assurot - Chapter 11

Ma'achalot Assurot - Chapter 11

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When wine has been poured as a libation to a false divinity,1 it is forbidden to benefit from it. A person who drinks even the smallest quantity2 of [such wine] is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law. Similarly, anyone who partakes of the smallest quantity of something offered to a false deity, e.g., meat or fruit, even water or salt, is worthy of lashes, as [implied by Deuteronomy 32:38]: "The fat of whose offerings they would eat; they would drink the wine of their libations. Let them stand."3


יין שנתנסך לעכו"ם אסור בהנייה והשותה ממנו כל שהוא לוקה מן התורה וכן האוכל כל שהוא מתקרובת עכו"ם מבשר או מפירות אפילו מים ומלח האוכל מהן כל שהוא לוקה שנאמר אשר חלב זבחימו יאכלו ישתו יין נסיכם יקומו וגו':


Wine poured as a libation to a false deity is like a sacrifice offered to it. Since this prohibition stems from [the prohibition against] the worship of false deities, there is no minimum measure involved, as stated with regard to the worship of false deities [ibid. 13:18]: "Let no trace of the condemned [entity] cling to your hand."4


יין שנתנסך לה כזבח שקרב לה וכיון שאיסור זה משום עכו"ם הוא אין לו שיעור שנאמר בעבודת כו"ם ולא ידבק בידך מאומה מן החרם:


When we do not know whether wine belonging to a gentile was used for a libation or not, it is called "ordinary [gentile] wine." It is forbidden to benefit from it, as it is forbidden to benefit from wine used as a libation. [This matter] is a Rabbinic decree.5 When a person drinks a revi'it6 of "ordinary [gentile] wine," he is liable for "stripes for rebellious conduct."7


יין העכו"ם שאין אנו יודעין אם נתנסך או לא נתנסך והוא הנקרא סתם יינם אסור בהנאה כמו יין שנתנסך ודבר זה מגזירות סופרים הוא והשותה מסתם יינם רביעית מכין אותו מכת מרדות:


It is forbidden [to benefit from] any wine that a gentile touches;8for perhaps he poured it as a libation. For the thought of a gentile is focused on the worship of false deities.9 From this, we learn that it is forbidden to benefit [even from] wine belonging to a Jew which was touched by a gentile; it is governed by the laws that apply to ordinary gentile wine.


וכל יין שיגע בו העכו"ם הרי זה אסור שמא נסך אותו שמחשבת העכו"ם לעבודת כוכבים הא למדת שיין ישראל שנגע בו העכו"ם דינו כסתם יינם שהוא אסור בהנייה:


When a gentile touches wine unintentionally10 and similarly, when a gentile child11 touches wine, it is forbidden to drink it,12 but it is permitted to benefit from it.

When one purchases servants from a gentile and they were circumcised and immersed [in the mikveh] immediately,13 they no longer pour libations to false deities.14 It is permitted to drink wine which they touch even though they have yet to conduct themselves according to the Jewish faith and they still speak of idolatry.


עכו"ם שנגע ביין שלא בכוונה וכן תינוק עכו"ם שנגע ביין אסור בשתייה ומותר בהנייה הלוקח עבדים מן העכו"ם ומלו וטבלו מיד אין מנסכין ויין שנגעו בו מותר בשתייה ואע"פ שעדיין לא נהגו בדתי ישראל ולא פסקה עכו"ם מפיהם:


[With regard to] the children of gentile maidservants that were born in a Jewish domain15 and circumcised, but were not immersed yet:16 The older ones cause wine that they touch to become forbidden. The younger ones17 do not cause it to become forbidden.18


בני השפחות העכו"ם שנולדו ברשות ישראל ומלו ועדיין לא טבלו הגדולים אוסרין היין כשיגעו בה והקטנים אינן אוסרין:


With regard to a resident alien, i.e., one who accepted the observance of the seven universal laws [commanded to Noah and his descendants],19 as we explained:20 It is forbidden to drink his wine, but it is permitted to benefit from it.21 We may deposit wine in his possession for a short time, but may not entrust it to him for a lengthy period.22

With regard to any gentile who does not serve false deities, e.g., the Arabs:23It is forbidden to drink his wine, but it is permitted to benefit from it. The Geonim rule in this manner. With regard to those who worship false deities,24 by contrast, it is forbidden to benefit from their ordinary wine.


גר תושב והוא שקיבל עליו שבע מצות כמו שביארנו יינו אסור בשתייה ומותר בהנייה ומייחדין אצלו יין ואין מפקידין אצלו יין וכן כל עכו"ם שאינו עובד עכו"ם כגון אלו הישמעאלים יינן אסור בשתייה ומותר בהנייה וכן הורו כל הגאונים אבל אותם העובדים עכו"ם סתם יינם אסור בהנייה:


Whenever it is stated that wine is forbidden in this context, if the gentile who causes the wine to be forbidden worships false deities, it is forbidden to benefit from it. If he does not worship false deities, it is merely forbidden to drink it. Whenever we refer to a gentile without any further description, we mean one who worships false deities.25


כל מקום שנאמר בענין זה שהיין אסור אם היה עכו"ם שנאסר היין בגללו עובד עכו"ם הרי הוא אסור בהנייה ואם אינו עובד עכו"ם הרי הוא אסור בשתייה בלבד וכל מקום שנאמר עכו"ם סתם הרי זה עובד עכו"ם:


Only wine that is fit to be offered on the altar is used for libations for false deities. Therefore when [our Sages] decreed against ordinary gentile wine, ordaining that it is forbidden to benefit from any wine touched by a gentile, their decree involved only wine that is fit to be used as a libation. Accordingly, wine that was boiled26 that was touched by a gentile is not forbidden. It is permitted to drink it together with a gentile27 in one cup. If, however, [a gentile] touches wine blended [with water] and wine that began to turn into vinegar,28 but can still be drunken is forbidden.


אין מתנסך לעכו"ם אלא יין שראוי להקריב על גבי המזבח ומפני זה כשגזרו על סתם יינם וגזרו על כל יין שיגע בו שיהיה אסור בהנייה לא גזרו אלא על היין הראוי להתנסך לפיכך יין מבושל של ישראל שנגע בו העכו"ם אינו אסור ומותר לשתות עם העכו"ם בכוס אחד אבל יין מזוג ויין שהתחיל להחמיץ ואפשר שישתה אם נגע בו נאסר:


The Geonim of the west ruled that if a small amount of a sweetener29 or yeast became mixed with Jewish wine, since it is no longer fit for the altar,30 it is considered as if were boiled or as if it were beer and will not be used as a libation. It is permitted to drink it together with a gentile.


הורו גאוני המערב שאם נתערב ביין ישראל מעט דבש או מעט שאור הואיל ואינו ראוי למזבח הרי הוא כמבושל או כשכר ואינו מתנסך ומותר לשתותו עם העכו"ם:


When does wine belonging to a gentile become forbidden? When the grapes have been crushed and the wine begins to flow,31 even though it has not descended into the cistern and is still in the wine press, it is forbidden. For this reason, we do not crush grapes together with a gentile in a wine press,32 lest he touch it with his hand33 and offer it as a libation. [This applies] even if he is bound. [Similarly,] we do not purchase a wine press [filled with] crushed [grapes] even if the wine is still mixed with the seeds and peels and has not descended into the cistern.


מאימתי יאסר יין העכו"ם משידרוך וימשך היין אף על פי שלא ירד לבור אלא עדיין הוא בגת הרי זה אסור לפיכך אין דורכין עם העכו"ם בגת שמא יגע בידו וינסך ואפילו היה כפות ואין לוקחין ממנו גת דרוכה ואע"פ שעדיין היין מעורב עם החרצנים וזגין ולא ירד לבור:


When a gentile crushes [grapes for] wine without touching it34 and a Jew is standing over him,35 and a Jew is the one who collects it in jugs, it is forbidden [only] to be drunken.36


עכו"ם שדרך היין ולא נגע בו והרי ישראל עומד על גביו וישראל הוא שכנסו בחבית ה"ז אסור בשתייה:


It is forbidden to benefit from vinegar belonging to a gentile, because it became [forbidden like] wine offered as a libation before it became vinegar.37

When a gentile is crushing grapes in a barrel, we are not concerned that the wine [becomes forbidden] as wine used for a libation. If a gentile was eating from the baskets [of grapes brought to a winepress] and left over, a se'ah or two and threw them into the winepress, he does not cause the wine [to become forbidden] as wine used for a libation, even though it spatters over the grapes.38


החומץ של עכו"ם אסור בהנייה מפני שנעשה יין נסך קודם שיחמיץ עכו"ם שהיה דורס ענבים בחבית אף על פי שהיין צף על גבי ידיו אין חוששין משום יין נסך היה אוכל מן הסלים והותיר כסאה וכסאתים וזרקן בגת אע"פשהיין מגתו על הענבים אין עושה יין נסך:


Grape seeds and peels belonging to a gentile are forbidden39 for twelve months. After twelve months, they have already dried out, they contain no moisture and they are permitted to be eaten. Similarly, the dregs of wine that have dried out are permitted to be eaten after twelve months.40 [The rationale is that] no trace of wine remains; they are just like dust or earth.


החרצנים והזגין של עכו"ם אסורים כל י"ב חדש ולאחר י"ב חדש כבר יבשו ולא נשארה בהן לחלוחית ומותרין באכילה וכן שמרים של יין שיבשו לאחר י"ב חדש מותרין שהרי לא נשאר בהן ריח יין והרי הן כעפר וכאדמה:


It is forbidden to put wine in wineskins or barrels in which gentiles had kept wine41 until:

a) they are allowed to dry for twelve months;42

b) they are placed in a fire until their pitch becomes soft or they become hot;43

c) water is placed in them for three days for a full 24 hour period; [one places water in them], pours it out after 24 hours, and puts other water in. [This should be done] three times in three days.

[This applies] whether the containers belong to them or they belonged to a Jew from whom they borrowed them and then placed their wine into them. If one put wine in them before purifying them, it is forbidden to drink [that wine].44


נאדות העכו"ם וקנקניהן שהכניסו בהן העכו"ם יינם אסור ליתן לתוכן יין עד שיישנן י"ב חדש או עד שיחזירן לאור עד שיתרפה הזפת שעליהן או שיחמו או עד שיתן לתוכן מים שלשה ימים מעת לעת ומערה המים ומחליף מים אחרים כל מעת לעת שלש פעמים בשלשת הימים בין שהיו הכלים שלהן בין שהיו של ישראל ושאלו אותן והכניסו בהן יינם ואם נתן לתוכם יין קודם שיטהר אותן הרי זה אסור בשתייה:


It is permitted to place beer, fish brine, or fish oil in these containers immediately.45 None of these [purging processes] are necessary. After one placed fish brine or fish oil in them, one may place wine in them, for the salt [in the fish brine or fat] will burn out [any residue of wine].


ומותר ליתן לתוכן שכר או ציר או מורייס מיד ואין צריך לכלום ומותר ליתן היין לתוכן אחר שנותן הציר או המוריס שהמלח שורפן:


When a person purchases new utensils that were not covered with pitch from a gentile, he may place wine in them immediately, he need not worry that gentile wine had been placed in them. If they were covered with pitch, he should wash them thoroughly even though they are new.46

Similarly, [any] utensil in which gentile wine was placed, but was not stored there for an extensive period, e.g., a bucket used to draw wine from a cistern, a funnel, or the like, should be swashed in water. That is sufficient for it.47


הלוקח כלים חדשים שאינם מזופתים מן העכו"ם נותן לתוכן יין מיד ואינו חושש שמא נתנו בהן יין נסך ואם היו מזופתין מדיחן ואע"פ שהן חדשים וכן כלי שנתנו בו יין נסך ואין מכניסו לקיום כגון כלי שחושף בו או המשפך וכיוצא בה משכשכו במים ודיו:


Similarly, it is forbidden to drink from an earthenware cup that a gentile had drunken from. If one washed it thoroughly three times, it is permitted, for all traces of wine have been washed away.48 This applies provided it is glazed with lead as potters do or covered with pitch. If, however, it is of earthenware, washing it thoroughly [once] is [all that is] required.49


וכן כוס של חרס ששתה בו העכו"ם אסור לשתות בו הדיחו פעם ראשונה ושניה ושלישית מותר שכבר הלכו צחצוחי היין שבו והוא שהיה מצופה באבר כדרך שהיוצרין עושין או שהיה מזופת אבל של חרס צריך הדחה:


When earthenware utensils that are glazed with lead50 are used for gentile wine, they are permitted51 if they are white, red, or black. If they are green, they are forbidden, because they absorb.52 If they have a portion where the earthenware is revealed,53 they are forbidden54 whether they are white or green, because they absorb.

It appears to me that this ruling applies only when wine was placed in them for long term storage.55 If, however, it was not placed in them for long term storage, [it is necessary merely to] wash them.56 They are then permitted, even if they are earthenware.57


כלי חרס השועים באבר שנשתמשו בהן ביין נסך אם היו לבנים או אדומים או שחורים מותרין ואם היו ירוקין אסורין מפני שהן בולעים ואם יש בהם מקום מגולה של חרס בין לבנים בין ירוקים אסורים מפני שהם בולעין ויראה לי שאין הדבר אלא בשכנסו בהם לקיום אבל לא כנסו בהם לקיום מדיחן ומותרין ואפילו הם של חרס:


When a gentile treads on grapes in a winepress of stone or of wood58 or a gentile applied pitch to a winepress of stone59 even though he did not tread the grapes there, one must wash [the press] thoroughly with water and ashes60 four times. Afterwards, one may tread grapes there. If [the press] is still moist, one should place the ashes in before the water. If it is not moist, one should place the water in first.


גת של אבן ושל עץ שדרך בהן העכו"ם או גת של אבן שזפתה העכו"ם אף על פי שלא דרך בה מדיחן במים ובאפר ארבע פעמים ודורך בהן ואם היתה בהם לחלוחית מקדים האפר למים ואם לאו מקדים המים:


When a gentile treaded [grapes] in a stone winepress covered with pitch or [applied] pitch to a wooden winepress61 even though he did not tread grapes there, one must peel the pitch.62 If one left it for twelve months or placed water in it for three days, it is not necessary to peel [the pitch off].63 [The laws applying to] a winepress need not be more stringent than those applying to barrels.64 [The option of] peeling was given only to allow [the winepress to be used] immediately.65


גת של אבן מזופפת שדרך בה העכו"ם או גת של עץ זפותה אע"פ שלא דרך בה צריך לקלוף את הזפת ואם יישנה שנים עשר חדש או נתן בה מים שלשה ימים מעת לעת אינו צריך לקלוף לא תהיה הגת חמורה יתר מן הקנקנים לא נאמר יקלוף אלא להתירה מיד:


An earthenware winepress [is governed by more stringent rules].66Even if one peels the pitch, it is forbidden to tread grapes in it immediately. [Instead, one must] heat it with fire until the pitch softens. If, however, one leaves it for twelve months or places water in it for three successive days, it is permitted,67as we explained.68


גת של חרס אף על פי שקלף את הזפת אסור לדרוך בה מיד עד שיחם אותה באש עד שירפה הזפת ואם ישנה שנים עשר חדש או נתן בה מים שלשה ימים מותרת כמו שביארנו:


[The following laws apply to] a filter that had been used for wine belonging to a gentile. If it is made of hair, it should be washed thoroughly69 and then it may be used as a filter. If it is made from wool, it should be washed thoroughly four times with water and ashes and then left it70 until it dries. If it was from flax,71 it should be left for twelve months. If it has knots, they should be untied [before the filter is washed out].72

Similar [laws apply with regard to] utensils from reeds,73 from date bast, or similar utensils like wicker baskets that are used to tread grapes. If they were sewed with ropes, they should be washed thoroughly. If they are tangled together with snarls that are difficult to undo, they should be washed four times with ashes and with water. [After] they are dried, they may be used. If they are sewed with flax, they should be left unused for twelve months. If they have knots, they should be untied.74


משמרת של יין של עכו"ם אם היתה של שער מדיחה ומשמר בה ואם היתה של צמר מדיחה במים ובאפר ארבע פעמים ומדיחה עד שתנגב ומשמר בה ואם היתה של שש מישנה י"ב חדש ואם יש בהן קשרים מתירן וכן כלי חלף והוצים וכיוצא בהן מכפיפות שדורכין בהן יין אם היו תפורין בחבלים מדיחן ואם היו אחוזות זו בסבוך קשה מדיחן באפר ובמים ארבע פעמים ומנגבן ומשתמש בהן ואם היו תפורות בפשתן מישנן שנים עשר חדש ואם יש בהן קשרים מתירן:


How can the utensils of a winepress used by a gentile for gentile wine be purified so that a Jew may use them? The boards,75 the balls of clay,76and the palm branches77 should be washed thoroughly. The restraints78 of wood and of canvas should be dried out.79 Those from water grasses and from bullrushes should be left unused for twelve months.

If he desires to purify them immediately, he should place them in boiling water,80 seal them with water used to cook olives,81 or place them under a drain through which water flows continually or in a stream of running water for twelve hours.82 Afterwards, they are permitted.


כלי הגת שדרך בהן העכו"ם יין נסך כיצד מטהרין אותן כדי שידרוך בהן הישראל הדפין והעדשים והלולבין מדיחן העקלין של נסרין ושל בצבוץ מנגבן של שיפה ושל גמי מישנן שנים עשר חדש ואם רצה לטהרן מיד מגעילן ברותחין או חולטן במי זיתים או מניחן תחת צנור שמימיו מקולחין או במעין שמימיו רודפין שתים עשרה שעות ואח"כ יותרו:


In the era when the land of Israel was entirely within the possession of the Jewish people, it was permitted to purchase wine from any Jewish person without holding anyone in suspicion.83 In the Diaspora, they would only purchase [wine] from a person whose reputation [for observance] has been established. In the present age, in every place, we only purchase wine from a person whose reputation for observance has been established.84These laws also apply to meat, cheese, and a cut of fish that does not have a sign as we explained.85


בזמן שהיתה ארץ ישראל כולה לישראל היו לוקחין היין מכל אדם מישראל ואין חוששין לו ובחוצה לארץ לא היו לוקחין אלא מאדם שהוחזק בכשרות ובזמן הזה אין לוקחין יין בכ"מ אלא מאדם שהוחזק בכשרות וכן הבשר והגבינה וחתיכת דג שאין בה סימן כמו שביארנו:


When a person enjoys the hospitality of a homeowner in any place and at any time and that homeowner brings him wine, meat, cheese, or a piece of fish, it is permitted. There is no need to inquire concerning it.86 [This law applies] even if he does not know him at all; all that he knows is that he is Jewish.

If [the host] has an established reputation for non-observance and for not paying attention to these matters, it is forbidden to accept his hospitality. If one transgresses and accepts his hospitality, it is forbidden to eat meat and drink wine [despite] his assurances unless a person who has an established reputation for observance testifies [to their acceptability].


המתארח אצל בעל הבית בכל מקום ובכל זמן והביא לו יין או בשר או גבינה וחתיכת דג הרי זה מותר ואינו צריך לשאול עליו אף על פי שאינו מכירו אלא יודע שהוא יהודי בלבד ואם הוחזק שאינו כשר ולא מדקדק בדברים אלו אסור להתארח אצלו ואם עבר ונתארח אצלו אינו אוכל בשר ולא שותה יין על פיו עד שיעיד לו אדם כשר עליהם:


As explained in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 3:3, pouring a libation and sacrificing are among the four acts of service for which one is liable to any false deity, even if this is not its mode of service.


See the following halachah.


Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 194) includes this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. According to the Rambam, it is actually the last of the mitzvot which the Torah mentions.

Although the verse does not specifically mention a prohibition, the Rambam derives the prohibition as follows: As stated in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 7:2, we are forbidden to derive benefit from anything offered to a false deity. Since the prooftext quoted establishes an equation between a libation and an offering, we conclude that just as an offering is forbidden by a negative commandment; so, too, there is a negative commandment involving a libation (see Avodah Zarah 29b).

The Ramban (in his Hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot) and the Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 111) maintain that both are included in a single prohibition. They should not be counted as separate negative commandments. They all agree, however, that the prohibition against such wine is Scriptural in origin. As the Rambam explains in Sefer HaMitzvot, loc. cit., there are statements of our Sages that appear to imply that the prohibition is Rabbinic in origin. Those statements, however, apply to wine handled by gentiles (see Halachah 3) and not to wine that was actually used for a libation.


This verse is most particularly related to the prohibition against benefiting from the property of a city who were drawn after idol worship (ir hanidachat). Nevertheless, since all false deities can be considered as "condemned," the verse applies to them as well (Megillat Esther, Sefer HaMitzvot, negative commandment 25). The expression "any trace" implies even the slightest amount of benefit is prohibited.


We find an allusion to this decree in Scripture itself for Daniel 1:8 speaks of how Daniel refrained from drinking the king's wine. Avodah Zarah 36b states that the decree against drinking wine handled by gentiles was instituted lest this lead to familiarity and ultimately, to intermarriage. From the Rambam's wording in the following halachah, however, it would appear that the prohibition was instituted as a safeguard against benefiting from idolatry (Ma'aseh Rokeach; see also Halachah 7 and notes).


One fourth of a log, 86 cc. According to Shiurei Torah and 150 cc. According to Chazon Ish. This is the standard liquid measure involved in ritual matters.


It is forbidden to drink even the slightest amount, but one is liable only for drinking a revi'it (Lechem Mishneh).


See Chapter 12, Halachot 1-2, which define what is meant by a gentile touching wine. As implied by the contrast to the following halachah, for it to be forbidden to benefit from the wine, the gentile must touch it intentionally. Similarly, he must know that it is wine (Radbaz).


Therefore even if there is no false deity present, it is possible that the gentile intended to use it as a libation. See Halachah 7 and notes which discuss which gentiles we are referring to.


See Chapter 12, Halachah 5.


Here the term child is not defined chronologically, but in terms of his relation to idolatry. Does he praise the name of a false deity or not? [Avodah Zarah 57a; Tur, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 124:1)].


In both instances, we cannot say that the person had the intent to use the wine as a libation. In the first instance, he did not intend to touch the wine and in the second, the child does not know about idolatrous worship. Nevertheless, the wine is still forbidden as a safeguard. See Chapter 12, Halachah 5. See also the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 124:24) who states that in the present era, most gentiles are not idolaters. Even so, if they touch wine unintentionally, although there are authorities who say there is room for leniency, the prevailing custom is to be stringent unless a significant loss is involved. See Siftei Cohen 124:71.


Thus reaching the intermediate stage of Jewish servants, as Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 12:11 states, they "have departed from the category of gentiles, but have yet to enter the category of Jews."


Their "conversion" to Judaism will prevent them from offering such a libation. See the Tur who also mentions the opinion of Rabbenu Chananel who maintains that a gentile servant causes wine to be forbidden for twelve months.

The Tur clarifies that the debate concerns only a servant, because his acceptance of Judaism is forced. All agree that no such strictures apply to a convert who willingly accepts Judaism.


If they were not born in a Jewish domain, the circumcision alone is of no consequence and even minors cause wine to become forbidden to drink (Kessef Mishneh).


If they were not immersed yet, even young children cause wine they touch to become forbidden to drink (the Kessef Mishneh's interpretation of the Rambam's opinion). The Rashba, however, differs and maintains even if these children were neither circumcised or immersed, they do not cause wine to be forbidden. The Turei Zahav124:3 and the Siftei Cohen 124:9 differ and maintain that even the Rambam would accept the Rashba's approach.


Here the term child is not defined chronologically, but in terms of his relation to idolatry. Does he praise the name of a false deity or not? [Avodah Zarah 57a; Tur, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 124:1)].


I.e., it is permitted entirely, even to drink it.


The prohibitions against the worship of false deities, blasphemy, murder, theft, incest and adultery, eating the flesh of a living animal, and the obligation to establish courts. See Hilchot Melachim 8:10.


See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 14:7.


The Kessef Mishneh explains that there are two dimensions to the prohibition against drinking the wine of gentiles:

a) The desire to limit familiarity with gentiles, lest it lead to intermarriage. This applies to resident aliens as well. Therefore there is a prohibition against drinking their wine.

b) A safeguard against benefiting from wine used as libations. This does not apply with regard to resident aliens. Therefore there is no prohibition against deriving benefit from their wine.


Since we do not suspect that he will use the wine for a libation - or allow other gentiles to do so - we do not forbid one to leave it there for a short while. Nevertheless, if it is left there for a long time, we fear that the gentile will exchange it with his own wine and as stated above, it is forbidden for Jews to drink his own wine (see Rashi, Avodah Zarah 64b).


The Rambam's wording has attracted the attention of the commentaries, for from the beginning of the halachah, it appears that the gentile must accept all seven mitzvot, while this clause appears to imply that it is sufficient for him to accept only the prohibition against idolatry. The Kessef Mishneh explains that when the entire nation does not worship false deities, then we do not fear that wine will be used as a libation. When, however, that is not the case, a gentile must accept all seven mitzvot for his wine to be permitted.


Our translation follows the standard version of the Mishneh Torah. The uncensored text reads: "Christians, by contrast, are idolaters. It is forbidden to benefit...." The Rama (Orach Chayim 155:1) rules that Christianity violates only the prohibition against shituf, worshipping another entity together with God, and gentiles are not prohibited against such worship. It must be emphasized that today, though many gentiles are nominally Christian, their observance is minimal and they have an awareness of monotheism.

See also the statements of the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 123:1, 124:24) who quotes opinions that maintain that in the present age, it is not customary for gentiles to pour wine as libations to false deities. Nevertheless, the prohibition against drinking such wine, however, remains intact.


For in the Rambam's age, most gentiles were idolaters. The Rabbinic authorities question whether one can make such an assumption in the present age. For many gentiles do not worship according to any religious rites at all and others, like the Arabs, have a conception of monotheism.


Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach 6:9 states that wine that was cooked to the extent that its taste changed is forbidden to be used as a libation on the altar. To put the concept in contemporary terms, wine that was pasteurized is included in this category.


Avodah Zarah 30b relates that the Sage Shmuel actually drank boiled wine together with a gentile.

The Kessef Mishneh quotes Rabbenu Asher who asks: If the decree against wine touched by a gentile was instituted to prevent intermarriage, what difference does it make if it was boiled or not? Will boiling the wine prevent familiarity from arising with gentiles?

In resolution, he explains that perhaps since boiled wine is uncommon, our Sages did not apply their decree in such a situation. Even though today, it has become common to drink boiled - i.e., pasteurized wine - our Sages decree has not been expanded. It must be emphasized that this leniency applies to wine belonging to a Jew that was boiled. Wine belonging to a gentile becomes forbidden before it is boiled and thus cannot be drunken.


Although they are unfit to be used for a libation.


This includes any wine to which sugar was added.


Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach 6:9.


In their days, grape presses were built on an incline, so that after the grapes were pressed, the juice would flow naturally toward a cistern.


The Turei Zahav 123:14 states that some interpret the Rambam as speaking only about a winepress that is open. If it is plugged close, there is room to say that the prohibition does not apply. Nevertheless, the Turei Zahav quotes other views that maintain that the prohibition applies even in such an instance.


Implied is that a libation cannot be offered with one's feet (Kessef Mishneh based on Avodah Zarah 56b; the Siftei Cohen 123:43, however, maintains that this is not the correct understanding of the Rambam's words). The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 124:11), however, rules that a gentile who touches the wine with his feet causes it to be come forbidden. The Rama, however, rules leniently and maintains that the prohibition applies only to drinking such wine.


The Turei Zahav 124:17 interprets this as referring to an instance where he does not touch the wine at all, not even with his feet. The Kessef Mishneh, however, explains that this is referring to a situation where the gentile touches the wine with his feet, but not with his hands.


And watching that the gentile does not touch it.


It is, however, permitted to benefit from it. 36. The fact that it becomes vinegar afterwards does not cause it to become permitted.

The Radbaz states that one can conclude from the Rambam's wording that if a gentile topuches vinegar belonging to a Jew, it is permitted, for it is no longer wine.


Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard published text is difficult to understand. As the Radbaz and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 125:6) state, the Rambam is referring to a situation where a certain amount of grape juice collects in the bottom of the baskets. Even though that juice spatters of the grapes, it does not cause the wine to be considered forbidden, for this prohibition does not apply until the wine begins to flow, as stated in Halachah 11 (Radbaz).


Even to benefit from them [Kessef Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 123:14)]. See also the Rama who states that the prohibition applies only when the peels were in contact with gentile wine. If the gentiles had merely crushed the grapes, but the wine had not begun flowing from the winepress, the peels are not forbidden.


See the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. ) which quotes more stringent views in certain circumstances.


For a certain quantity of wine is absorbed in the container. Afterwards, when the kosher wine is placed in the container, it will be soaked into the container and the wine in the container will be released into it.


See the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 135:16) which explains that even if one used the containers for water during this period, this does not prevent the containers from becoming permitted.


I.e., if they are not covered with tar (Kessef Mishneh). By heating them, one will achieve the results of libbun and purge any absorbed wine through heat.

See also the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 135:15) which state that hagalah, filling the containers with boiling water is also acceptable.


It is, however, permitted to benefit from this wine (Kessef Mishneh).


For these substances nullify the taste of wine (Rashi, Avodah Zarah 33b).


I.e., even though they appear new, we suspect that a gentile used them to store wine. Hence they must be washed. Nevertheless, the fact that they appear new indicates that they were not used for a long time. Hence, washing them is sufficient.

This stringency applies only with regard to containers covered with pitch. Since they are dark black, it is not evident whether they were used previously or not. With regard to other containers, it is much more clearly apparent whether or not they were used. Hence there is no need for this stringency (Kessef Mishneh).


The Kessef Mishneh notes that Avodah Zarah 74b appears to require that such utensils be dried. He questions why the Rambam does not mention this point. As a possible resolution, he suggests that perhaps the Talmud is speaking about utensils belonging to a gentile, while the Rambam is speaking about those belonging to a Jew.


The Rambam's ruling is dependent on his interpretation of Avodah Zarah 33b. Other authorities including Rashi and the Ra'avad have a different understanding of the passage. Their view is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 135:4).


The Kessef Mishneh explains that we are speaking of an instance where the glazing of the lead or the pitch was not completed in a thorough manner and the surface of the utensil is not smooth. Therefore such a utensil will absorb wine more easily than an ordinary earthenware utensil. Hence, three washings are required. The following halachah, by contrast, is speaking about a utensil that is glazed in a more thorough manner, producing a smooth surface. Hence it is less likely to absorb the wine than an ordinary earthenware utensil.


As mentioned above, the Kessef Mishneh interprets this to mean that they were glazed in a manner that produced a smooth surface. Hence they do not absorb the wine easily.


After being washed alone.


In order to produce a green color, a substance called netar, alum crystals [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 135:5)], is mixed into the glazing. This substance is very absorbent. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah, loc. cit.) states that utensils made from this substance can never be purified.


I.e., the glazing does not cover the entire utensil.


Until the wine is purged as mentioned in Halachah 15.


The Kessef Mishneh quotes the Rashba as stating that from the fact that these statements are made about earthenware utensils, one can conclude that metal utensils do not absorb even when gentile wine was placed in them for an extended period of time. They will absorb only when liquids are heated.


For even if the wine was not placed in them for an extended period, it is possible that there will be a certain amount of residue left in the container.


For over a short period of time, they will not absorb.


That is not covered with pitch (Kessef Mishneh) .


Rashi (Avodah Zarah 74b) and the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 138:1) explain that after pitch is applied to a vat, a small amount of wine is placed in the vat to remove the unfavorable odor of the pitch.


I.e., rubbing the walls with ashes and then washing them (Kessef Mishneh).


Since a larger amount of pitch is necessary, it will absorb more.


The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 138:1) follows the position of other Rishonim who maintains that even after peeling the outer layer of the pitch, one must apply ashes and water, as stated in the previous halachah.


As stated with regard to barrels in Halachah 15. The Ra'avad and most other Rishonim differ with regard to this ruling and require the barrel to be pealed.


Indeed, one would suspect the laws governing barrels to be more stringent, for wine is stored there for long periods. It remains in a winepress, by contrast, for only a short time.


Without having to wait any time at all.


For earthenware absorbs more readily than other substances. In the previous halachah, we assume that the winepress itself did not absorb any wine. In this case, we assume that it did (Kessef Mishneh).


Without peeling off the pitch as stated in the previous halachah. Here also the Ra'avad differs and rules that the pitch must be peeled off. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) follows the Rambam's ruling.


In Halachah 15.


Hair does not absorb liquid at all. Hence, it need only be washed to remove the wine that may be sticking to its surface.


Our translation follows the authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text differs slightly.


Which is more absorbant.


So that the residue will not collect there.


Our translation is based on the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 135:8).


When citing this law in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 138:7, 9), Rav Yosef Caro does not mention the need to untie the knots in this instance. As evident from his Kessef Mishneh, he follows the approach of the Rashba who maintains that when an object is left for twelve months, there is no need to untie the knots. The Siftei Cohen 138:8 differs and states that the Rambam's ruling should be followed.


Upon which the grapes are placed.


Used to crush the grapes (see the conclusion of the gloss of the Lechem Mishneh to Halachah 17).


Which are used as brooms to collect the grapes (Rashi, Avodah Zarah 75a).


In his Commentary to the Mishneh, Taharot 10:8, the Rambam states that this refers to the restraints placed around olives (and grapes) when they are being squeezed to gather them together.


This term refers to the process of applying ashes and water mentioned above.


To purge the wine absorbed in this fashion.


Cooking them in such water will cause whatever wine that was absorbed to be sealed in its place and never to be released.


This will also purge the absorbed wine. See Hilchot Tumat Ochalin 11:17 which mentions these same processes in a different context.


A Jew who worships false divinities, does not observe the Sabbath, or denies the Torah and its mitzvot is considered equivalent to a gentile and his wine is forbidden just as a gentile's is (see Hilchot Shabbat 30:15). When Eretz Yisrael was populated solely by Jews, our Sages maintained that there was no need to suspect that a person fell into the above categories.


The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, stating that a common person will not necessarily cause another to transgress. The Radbaz states that even if the common people will not necessarily transgress themselves, they will not be careful about protecting another person's observance and may sell him forbidden articles. This view is cited by the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 119:1).


Chapter 3, Halachah 21; Chapter 8, Halachah 7.


We assume that the host is observant and that he is giving his guest the same food that he eats himself (Radbaz).

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