We are enjoined to drink wine in many rituals (Kiddush, Pessah, etc.). The Shulchan Aruch says grape juice may be substituted. But, presumably no other fruit juice may be used (unless grapes cannot be found, in which case other fruit may be used).

I wonder why that is so. Do the Sources explain anywhere why grapes have a special status, and cannot be replaced by, say, pomegranates, which are also very special in our tradition?

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    Brachos 35b explains that Wine is unique in that it both satiates a person (סעיד) and makes a person happy ( משמח). However, it uses that to explain why wine gets a unique Bracha. This doesn't necessarily explain why it is the only drink that can be used for Kiddush, Pesach etc.
    – Silver
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:36
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    There are various circumstances where chamar medinah can be used rather than wine/grape juice. It’s possible that orange juice falls into that category.
    – Joel K
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:42
  • Also, there is a distinction between Pesach which must be exclusively wine (or grape juice), versus Kiddush/Havdala where there is more flexibility (chamar medina)
    – Silver
    Jun 19, 2019 at 18:02
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    @DonielF -- Isn't chamar medina only when you can't find grapes or wine? Jun 20, 2019 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


See SA OC 272.9

A. The din of chamar Medina (an other drink that is used instead wine(1) is only in place in which there is no wine, Magen Avraham sk 6.

B. Even in such a place, for the Kiddush of lel Shabbat, SA says in name of the Rosh, and the Rema holds this lahalacha, chamar Medina is not good. They must make Kiddush on the chalot.

(1). I need to explain this part of the answer. Wine has a special place. It is a drink for which the fruit is cultivated. Grappe so presenr in agriculture because of the wine. Moreover wine is the most appreciated drink in regions in which there is wine. But there are other regional famous drinks that concurrencie the wine. The Halacha calls them chamar Medina. They have a special halachic status in regions that don't product wine. But not in other regions. In a some region they don't product wine (may be that this definition is not sufficient today because wine is largely imported in many regions that don't product wine), they make wine with apple, cider, this is an example of Chamar Medina. Some fruits were cultivated for they juice. E.g. oranges main product in Israel was juice, but wine only is משביע ומשמח.

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    I don't see how this answers the question. It says one can't use fruit juice. The question was why.
    – msh210
    Jun 19, 2019 at 21:34
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    @msh210 I disagree; it answers the question by challenging its premise that one can never use other fruit juices. Had the OP asked why grape juice is preferable I’d agree, but that’s not what he asked.
    – DonielF
    Jun 19, 2019 at 23:15
  • @msh210 ok I understand. There was a statement in parentheses. I explained it more extensively
    – kouty
    Jun 20, 2019 at 3:53
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    @msh210 pay attention on the fact that the title and the content of the question were changed after my answer.
    – kouty
    Jun 20, 2019 at 5:54

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