We are warned that when handling a non-Mevushal Kosher wine that it must only be handled by shabbat observant Jews.

My question relates to the halachic definition of "handling" and what that entails.

Does this prohibition involve the gifting of the Kosher wine or is the prohibition of "handling" only related to the opening and pouring of the wine?

Example Scenario

A Jewish host is hosting a non-observant Jew in their home as part of a Kiruv program. The non-observant Jew brings the host family a gift of wine as a sign of thanks and the wine happens to be non-Mevushal kosher. The wine is unopened and was simply purchased and gifted to the host family to thank them for sharing their shabbat with them.

Does "handling" cover physically touching the bottle or does the handling definition only relate to the opening and pouring of the wine?

Would the family be unable to use this wine or would it be acceptable as long as the wine was not tampered with and remained sealed when gifted?

The Jew in this scenario has not meddled in idol worship. They simply weren't raised in an observant household and never correctly observed shabbat. If they handled the bottle in transporting it, does that make it problematic to use?

  • You discuss two separate topics here, to the extent that the answer below focuses on the one that you focus less on. Please edit the question so it asks only the question answered below and is asked well, and feel free to ask the other question in a separate question post. – msh210 Oct 5 '20 at 11:27

You'll find a good analysis and summary of positions here:



R. Ovadia Yosef [Shu’t Yavia Omer 1:11] is very sympathetic to the arguments of those who permit wine touched by mechalelei Shabbat.

• There are many contemporary poskim who take a strict approach to this in principle. Rabbi Bleich speaks of “the overwhelming consensus among latter-day authorities affirming the prohibition against drinking wine touched by a Shabbat violator”.

• R. Eliezer Waldenberg and R. Tzvi Pesach Frank took a strict approach, as did R. Moshe Feinstein in most of his responsa on the issue.

• Others (including R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin [Peirushei Ibra 5:4] and R. Ovadia Yosef) took a more lenient approach in practice.

• Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon recommends the following halachic guidelines when it comes to wine poured or touched by non-observant Jews:- (i) The main thrust of the poskim is to be stringent. (ii) One can be lenient with pasteurized wine which is not fully cooked. (iii) One can be lenient with the wine that is left in the bottle. (iv) One can be lenient if the bottle is simply opened and not poured. (v) There are grounds to be strict and not to drink the wine poured by a non-observant Jew, but in cases of need, especially where offence could be caused, one can be lenient given the many grounds for leniency with today’s mechalelei Shabbat.

• Many poskim would urge leniency when it comes to family members who could be deeply offended.

• Almost all major poskim permit wine poured by non-observant Jews who DO keep Shabbat (at least publicly), but who are non-observant in other areas.

  • 1
    The seems to largely miss the point. The question was about what's considered handling not who is considered like a non jew for these laws,even if it used a controversial case in its example – Double AA Oct 5 '20 at 3:06

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