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What are the different Minhagim you or other people have with the drinking of the wine at havdala during the "9 Days"?

Do you drink it yourself, or do you use Chamar Medinah (a non-wine substitute)?

Which one is better halachicly? (You should probably define which Chamar Medinah you use, and if you give it to a child to drink, how old a child, and what gender.)

What if there is no child?

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I actually know a posek who makes a siyum before havdala so he can drink the wine without any questions although he told me (with a smile) that he is taking an extreme personal position on the issue (and has several learning cycles going so he is never at loss for a siyum) –  eramm Aug 6 at 16:16

6 Answers 6

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The Chazon Ish (quoted in Imrei Yosher, pg. 4) says that those who say Havdalah every week over wine or grape juice should do the same during the Nine Days as well.

In some places it is customary for a minor, if one is present, to drink the wine. The minor who serves the purpose should be a boy beyond the age of chinuch but who is not yet old enough to understand the concept of mourning the destruction of the Beis ha-Mikdash.[What this age is I do not know?] If such a child can not be found, any boy under bar mitzvah will do. (Mishnah Berurah 551:70).

While in other places an adult drinks the Havdalah wine. (Harav M. Feinstein in Moadei Yeshurun, pg. 154), the Aruch HaShulchan (O.C. 551:26) says people have the Minhag to drink beer (Chamar Medinah).

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Anyone know which Imrei Yosher that is? Or perhaps where else to find that psak? –  Double AA Jul 18 '12 at 2:25

Basically, there are 3 separate mehalchim 1. Just drink the wine or grape juice yourself (no difference b/t the two) (Mechaber) 2. Find a child and he should drink it; if you cant find one - then drink it yourself (Rema) 3. Beer - (Aruch Hashulchan)

Each of these views have a wide following among acharonim and contemporary poskim. Most Sefardim follow the Mechaber. Most Ashekenaim follow the Rema; although some Ashkenazic poskim do follow the mechaber on this, while others the Aruch Hashulchan.

There is an excellent and extremely comprehensive article on this here (including many contemporary poskim - worthwhile to go through the footnotes properly!) http://www.ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/5483

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Most of the shi'tot were covered in other answers

While the Ramo recommended giving the wine to a child, the Mishna Brurah ((651:70)) pointed out that this cannot just be “any child.” The child utilized must have reached the age of training for brachos and will drink the proper amount, but not yet reached the age of training to mourn over Yerushalayim.

Rav Avigdor Nebenzhal pointed out in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that it is generally difficult to find such a child who understands brachos but not the mourning for Yerushalayim. Accordingly, Rav Shlomo Zalman would drink the wine himself. It should also be added that given that Tisha B’Av falls in the middle of the summer, by the time Shabbos ends most such children will be asleep by that time as well.

Additionally, it might be suggested that even though for all purposes in Halacha (such as Kiddush, Havdala, Four Cups, etc) grape juice is considered wine, it still does not provide the joy of wine and might be a better choice of beverage on which to make havdala during the nine days.

Yerushalayim B’Moadeha, (vol. on The Three Weeks, #167)

taken from this post

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The Kaf Hachaim OC 551 sk 152, following the psak of Maran, notes the common custom among Sephardim is not to have any qualms about drinking wine at Havdalah during the nine days.

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The Baal HaTanya writes in his Shulchan Aruch (295:4):

נוהגים שהש"ץ מבדיל בבית הכנסת על היין כדי להוציא מי שאין לו יין בביתו להבדיל עליו(וישתה מהכוס בעצמו אם נתכוין לצאת ידי חובתו בהבדלה זו או ישקה ממנו לאחר שנתכוין לצאת ידי חובתו אבל אם משקה ממנו לתינוקות אין שום אדם יכול לצאת ידי חובתו בהבדלה זו כיון שלא שתה מהכוס אדם שיוצא ידי חובתו בהבדלה זו):‏

Thus if a child drinks the havdalah wine then no one can fulfill hearing havdalah! It's not clear what his source is for this, however, and interestingly it directly contradicts what he wrote in 190:4

אע"פ ששתיית כוס של ברכה מעכבת אין מעכב שישתה המברך בעצמו אלא די בשתיית אחרכו ואפילו מטעים ממנו לתינוק (כמלא לוגמיו של תינוק) יצא ידי חובה

But according to the first view, it would seem preferable not to give the wine to a child, despite the common custom.

The contradiction is pointed out in the Kitzos haShulchan 97, in the Badei HaShulchan #6

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I don't think it is a direct contradiction. Halacha 190:4 continues and explicitly says why a child may drink from it. The obligation is to sing over the cup, not drink from it. Someone must drink and benefit from the cup, but it could be anyone. Footnote 27 points out that the halacha is different by havdalah –  Menachem Jul 16 '12 at 19:20
    
related judaism.stackexchange.com/a/16518/759 –  Double AA Jul 16 '12 at 20:58
    
@Menachem It is surely a contradiction. I don't understand how you are reading the sources. In 295:4, he writes a child's drinking is m'akev the havdalah. In 190:4 he writes that a child's drinking is not m'akev. And you don't have to continue reading -- he says it right in what I quoted! –  Curiouser Jul 16 '12 at 21:21
    
in 190:4 he says that the drinking (by the m'varech) is not m'akev in any matter that requires a kos. The machlokes in 190:4 is whether the drinking at all is m'akev or not, but both sides in 190:4 agree that in all matters requiring a kos, even a child can drink. Whereas in 295:4, he writes that a child cannot drink it. –  Curiouser Jul 16 '12 at 21:29
    
See here, which translated the reason for 190:4 - judaism.stackexchange.com/a/16518/603 - "For even the one reciting the berachah didn't thereby incur an obligation [to drink] at all; he is required only to recite a song over a cup of wine from which some Jew will drink an amount that is significant to him (even a day-old child)." . This is not the case by havdalah, where someone who want to be Yotzeh by the havdalah has to drink it. –  Menachem Jul 16 '12 at 21:30

R'SimchasTorah's answer seems to cover many bases, but since the question seems to be asking specifically for as many people's respective customs as possible, I'll add my family's: we use chamar m'dina.

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What do you use? –  Seth J Aug 5 '11 at 20:29
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@Seth, orange juice, usually. –  msh210 Aug 6 '11 at 0:07
    
    
FWIW, my family uses beer as chamar m'dina. –  Scimonster Aug 3 at 13:05
    
@msh210 is OJ chamar m'dina ? I always understood CM according to Reb Moshe's understanding that CM was a drink that was usually served and drunk even though the recipient was not thirsty. An example in Israel would be coffee where it would be almost unthinkable to start a business meeting without serving coffee. –  eramm Aug 6 at 16:13

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