I can understand that in the old days non-Jewish people used to make wine for worshipping or that wine was the main alcoholic beverage and drinking a wine made by non-jews would require some interaction with the producer, causing you to marry his daughters.

Nowadays, the worship reason is practically unexistent. While the reason for marring a goy is applicable for any other alcoholic beverage. Logically, it seems more likely that someone would marry a goy by drinking a kosher vodka in a non-Jewish bar than by drinking a bottle of wine with his Jewish wife in its own place.

So what is the reason for such strict laws regarding wine nowadays?

  • 1
    Still you are aware of the prohibition of drinking wine, so even when drinking vodka you realise, "It is OK for me to drink this because it is vodka." So that still generates some overall awareness of distance?
    – The GRAPKE
    Nov 17, 2020 at 5:40
  • See Avodah Zarah 31b and the corresponding Yoreh Deah 114:1 about your second premise. Nov 17, 2020 at 11:28
  • Indeed drinking vodka at a non Jewish bar is a terrible thing to do. The solution is not to relax wine prohibitions to mimic common practice regarding vodka, but to remind people that all the more so they should never drink vodka at non Jewish bars.
    – Double AA
    Nov 17, 2020 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


Firstly we don't change Halacha randomly. As you yourself mentioned, there are at least 2 reasons - and there may be more.

Unless all reasons are no longer relevant, and can never again be relevant, there's no reason to even consider canceling a decree that people wiser than us decreed.

More to the point.

Your first assertion - the worship reason is practically nonexistent - is incorrect. As you can see from Wikipedia, the concept of pouring out a little of your drink for "religious" reasons is alive and well on almost all continents.

Your second "theory" is interesting, but those who instituted the decree were also aware of this, and nevertheless decided "wine & not vodka". So it's not something we can take into account. Or, as The GRAPKE noted, even when drinking vodka you realize, "It is OK for me to drink this because it is vodka." So that still generates some overall awareness of distance.

So I see no reason to take this prohibition lightly nowadays, it's as relevant as ever.

  • 2
    "wine & not vodka" That's only for benefit because of the Avoda Zara concerns. It's not correct that the Sages didn't prohibit drinking hard alcohol at bars. It's an entire section of Shulchan Aruch YD 114 (see details there exactly which beverages and locations are included)
    – Double AA
    Nov 17, 2020 at 15:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .