According to this answer R' Moshe Feinstein Paskened that, since for many years the practice of Bentching on a Kos (reciting grace after meals over a cup of wine, as formally constructed in the Talmud) was abandoned because wine was scarce and expensive, nowadays we do not need to Bentch on a Kos, even when wine is readily available.

What if there is actually wine on the table, the bottle is open, and the host asked moments before it was decided that everyone would Bentch, "Does anyone want some more wine?" (In other words, one need not be shy in taking some, as the host wants the open bottle to be used and not wasted.) Is the Halachah actually that we no longer require it at all, or simply that if it's going to be a burden at all, even if it's just to go to the kitchen to get a bottle, it's not necessary to go to that trouble? Hence, if it is right in front of you, open, and there is leftover wine that's probably going to be wasted if it isn't consumed, do you have a responsibility to take advantage of it and Bentch on a Kos, or if nobody is really in a mood to drink the wine do we say that then it still isn't necessary?

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    I personally don't see how the basic Halacha could vary so easily with the circumstances. We paskin it is not an obligation. We also paskin that it is always a mitzva min hamuvchar. Everyone has to estimate for themselves every single time they bentch how much time/energy/money they are willing to put in to the mitzva to make it min hamuvchar. That's a kind of question that shows up by many different mitzvot. – Double AA Sep 21 '12 at 18:26
  • @DoubleAA, "We paskin it is not an obligation." That is basically my question. So you're saying it's no longer required at all, but just better. There's no Halachah that if one can do it one has an obligation to do what is better? If I have 2 Ethrogim in front of me, and one is better, there's no requirement for me to use the better one? – Seth J Sep 21 '12 at 19:02
  • Etrugim may be a bad example, but otherwise yes I think it's very hard to quantify an Obligation to pick the 'better' X-mitzva-[object/method]. – Double AA Sep 21 '12 at 20:15
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    I should note that most will tell you RMF is not saying "it is no longer required" but it was never required because we hold those poskim are right. – Double AA Aug 22 '13 at 6:48
  • @DoubleAA, thanks, that's a very helpful comment. Clears up a lot for me. – Seth J Aug 22 '13 at 13:27

Ruach Chayim (by R. Haim Palachi) to OC 182 writes:

אכן מי שאינו מזיק לו היין ובלאו הכי הרי הוא שותה יין בתוך הסעודה ועם כל זה אינו אומר ברכת המזון על הכוס גדול עונו מנשוא שאומר לו הקב"ה לתאותך היית שותה יין כסא טבא לפומא ולכבודי לברך ברכת המזון על הכוס פשעת בי שלא לברך על הכוס בברכת המזון ומלבד כי מצד הסברא והשכל נותן כן זאת ועוד כבזה מקיים מה שדרשו כבד את ה' מהונך מגרונך מאת שאתה נותן לתוך גרונך כבת את ה' לומר ברכת המזון על הכוס ואשכחן דמצות ק"פ הוא על השובע ככה יעשה כבוס ברכת המזון וכמו שעושה סעודה שלישית ורביעית אף כי אין לו תאוה לאכול כי אם לקיים מצות ה'.‏

Someone whom wine does not damage and is anyway drinking it at a meal and still doesn't bentch on it, his sin is too great to bear, for God says "For your own desire you drank, but to honor me... you were negligent?" (partial translation by Double AA)

The פסקי תשובות on siman 182 footnote 7 references that and notes that therefore one should remove the wine from the table before the ending of the seuda if one does not want to bentch on a kos.

  • Ouch. That's harsh. I had a similar thought. I struggled to understand why it was ok not to use it when it is sitting right there. This doesn't answer why some seem to hold it's ok, but it affirms my discomfort with it. +1 – Seth J Jan 16 '17 at 21:15

I must point out that with all due respect to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein(A"H) his statement is unneeded since benching over wine was never a requirement, but rather a pious action. So it really doesn't matter about the history or circumstances involved since we never HAD to do it in the first place.

As per your question heres the halakha:

"If wine is available, [grace should be recited over a cup of wine]. We bring a cup that contains a revi'it or more and spices. [The person reciting grace] should hold the wine in his right hand and the spices in his left hand while reciting grace. Afterwards, he should recite the blessing on the wine, and then the blessing on the spices...

Although grace does not require wine, should one recite grace over wine according to the custom we have mentioned, [several conditions must be met:] One should wash out the cup over which the blessing is recited on the inside and rinse its outside. It should be filled with undiluted wine. When one reaches the blessing for Eretz Yisrael, one should add a small amount of water so that it will be pleasant to drink. Conversation should not be made over the cup over which grace is recited. Rather, everyone should remain silent until grace and the blessing of the wine is concluded, and then they should drink." M"T Hilkhoth Brakhoth 7:15-16

  • RMF and the OP are clearly accounting for Rov Rishonei Ashkenaz that it is sometimes a requirement. – Double AA Sep 24 '12 at 23:08
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    Moreover from the first halacha you quote it sounds like one has to use wine when in the exactly case the OP describes. The second halacha is then telling us that one need not seek out wine if he doesn't already have it (this is in contrast to the Tur who holds you cannot eat bread if you don't have wine). – Double AA Sep 24 '12 at 23:10
  • Why the down votes? Poster asked if the person had to bench on the bottle of wine. The Halakha says you dont have to and that if wish to you must be the person leading benching. Did i miss something? – Qoheleth Sep 24 '12 at 23:10
  • @DoubleAA I see the RaMBaM as saying we dont have to bench with wine but if its available then we should and this is how its done. – Qoheleth Sep 24 '12 at 23:12
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    We can disagree about the Rambam, but it is really irrelavent to this question. The question did not ask "must we bentch on a kos?". It asked "according to the logic that the halacha nowadays is that bentching does not need a kos because wine was hard to get, does the requirement set in again if wine is very readily available?". Those are two separate questions. Yours is a good answer to the first, but it doesn't answer the second at all. – Double AA Sep 25 '12 at 0:23

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