I have not seen specific references describing what the red wine represent in the Seder, and why the red wine is preferred. I know Moses did not write about it, but the tradition of the cup developed traditionally for the Seder remembrance for the Passover of the blood sacrifice. My understanding is that it represents the blood of that sacrifice, but even if it is symbolical, how is it understood without being controversial and objectionable, because drinking blood is forbidden? Or the symbolical drinking of the blood should not be difficult? Please quote the references if any, with links for a better study. What does the red wine symbolize?

Shabbat 129a:14 מַאי צׇרְכֵי סְעוּדָה? רַב אָמַר: בָּשָׂר, וּשְׁמוּאֵל אָמַר: יַיִן. רַב אָמַר: בָּשָׂר — נַפְשָׁא חֲלַף נַפְשָׁא. וּשְׁמוּאֵל אָמַר: יַיִן — סוּמָּקָא חֲלַף סוּמָּקָא. The Gemara asks: What are these special needs of a meal? Rav said: It is referring to meat. And Shmuel said: It is referring to wine. The Gemara explains: Rav says: It is referring to meat because the soul replaces the soul, i.e., the meat replenishes the person’s strength. And Shmuel said: It is referring to wine because the red replaces the red, i.e., red wine substitutes for red blood.

In one answer, I saw a different symbolism of the blood.

Not only is it a Minhag those who say Yotzros on Shabbos Hagadol say it in there יין כי יתאדם למצוה הוא מקדם Translates as "Wine that is Red for the Mitzvah ahead" Not only that the Rambam sas you are not Yotzeh using white wine for kiddush( we do not Poskin like that) and the Mishnah Berurah adds Pesach there is another reason to remind us of the of the blood of the Jewish children Pharoh used to Bathe in.

  • The wine's color is a reminder, an echo of blood. It isn't blood in any real sense, nor is it symbolic of actual blood so we are "drinking" blood. It has a color and the color should make us think about things.
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:03
  • your reference to echo is nothing but symbolism. @rosends
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:16
  • I have also read the mystical meaning of the wine on Divrei Negidim on the Haggadah, which is very insightful sefaria.org/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:44
  • Indeed, in many European countries Jews avoided drinking red wine to avoid blood libels... Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:45
  • 1
    The blood libels point is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that I mentioned :-)
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


Ultimately, Seder night is one of constant symbolism as we endeavour to imagine that we ourselves are leaving Egypt. In this regard, the red wine helps serve as a reminder of this process.

The starting point is the Shulchan Aruch OC 472:11 where it writes expressly:

מצוה לחזור אחר יין אדום (אם אין הלבן משובח ממנו) (טור):

It's a mitzvah to seek red wine (if the white wine is not better) [Tur].

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 118:1 writes further the reason why:

יְהַדֵּר אַחַר יַיִן יָפֶה לְמִצְוֹת אַרְבָּעָה כּוֹסוֹת. וְאִם יֵשׁ בַּנִּמְצָא יַיִן אָדֹם יָפֶה כְּמוֹ הַלָּבָן, וְגַם הוּא כָּשֵׁר כְּמוֹ הַלָּבָן, מִצְוָה בּוֹ יוֹתֵר מִבַּלָּבָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, אַל תֵּרֶא יַיִן כִּי יִתְאַדָּם, מַשְׁמַע שֶׁחֲשִׁיבוּתוֹ שֶׁל יַיִן הוּא כְּשֶׁהוּא אָדֹם. וְעוֹד, לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ זֵכֶר לְדָּם, שֶׁהָיָה פַּרְעֹה שׁוֹחֵט יַלְדֵי בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל. וּבִמְדִינוֹת שֶׁהָאֻמּוֹת טִפְּשִׁים וּסְכָלִים לְהַעֲלִיל עֲלִילוֹת שְׁקָרִים, נִמְנְעוּ מִלִּקַּח יַיִן אָדֹם לְפֶּסַח (תעב).

You should do your best to obtain choice wine to perform the mitzvah of drinking the Four Cups. If red wine is available, that is, of the same quality as white wine, and its kashrus is as reliable as white wine, the red wine is preferred for the Four Cups, for it is said, "Look not after wine when it is red," (Proverbs 23:31) indicating that wine is most desirable, when it is red. In addition, because it reminds us of the blood, which flowed, when Pharaoh slaughtered innocent Jewish children. In backward and ignorant countries, where people, make slanderous accusations, Jews refrain from using red wine on Pesach. (Sefaria translation my emphasis)

This point about the slaughtered children is also mentioned in the Ohr Zaruah, Vol. II, Siman 256 (Left column, bottom quarter) and he adds two other symbolic cases of blood. He writes:

יין אדום זכר לדבר שהיה פרעה שוחט תינוקות כשנצטרע ועוד זכר לדם פסח ולדם מילה

Red wine as a remembrance for Pharoah who slaughtered the babies (and bathed in their blood) when he was suffering with leprosy. And furthermore, it is a remembrance for the blood of the Korban Pesach (the Paschal Lamb) and the blood of milah (circumcision).

Finally, it is also worth noting the Pri Megadim, OC, Eishel Avraham 472:13 who writes that when using wine it should be red as it resembles blood and is a remembrance of the first plague of blood, thus symbolically appropriate for the evening, in the same way that Charoses is a remembrance to the cement/clay that the Jews used.


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