Let's say a family invited guests who are big wine drinkers. They drink extra wine during the meal, and by the time they get to the 3rd cup, there's no wine (or grape juice) left.

What should they do (for the last 2 cups - not the drunk guests :-)?

  • Don't drink the last two cups.
    – Ypnypn
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:12
  • @Ypnypn Your opinion, or do you have a source?
    – DanF
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:14
  • 4
    Are there any better options?
    – Ypnypn
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Ypnypn perhaps you can substitute some other drink. That's why I asked.
    – DanF
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch, in Orach Chaim 472:10 says:

מי שאינו שותה יין מפני שמזיקו או שונאו צריך לדחוק עצמו ולשתות לקיים מצות ארבע כוסות:‏

Someone who doesn't drink wine because it hurts him, or he hates it, has to push himself and drink, to fulfill the commandment of the four cups.

(translation mine)

On this, the Mishna Berura (#37) comments:

:וגם יכול ליקח יין צמוקים או חמר מדינה ...

... and he can also take raisin wine or a national beverage.

(translation mine)

By "national beverage" (chamar medina), the M"B is referring to a category of beverages that have a certain status of importance and honor, which Igerot Moshe Orach Chaim 2:75 says you can tell by whether that beverage is drunk by people to honor a meal and each other, even if they're not thirsty.

R' Ari Enkin, in a 2012 essay on Torah Musings covering the laws of the four cups (which is where I got the sources quoted above), says that "Liquer and coffee are certainly examples of chamar medina."

Given that the M"B allows for the use of chamar medina for the four cups by someone who is hurt by or hates wine (which R' Enkin summarizes as "in an emergency"), it seems likely that someone who simply didn't have access to wine would also be able to use chamar medina. So, one option, despite the late hour, could be to break out the Maxwell House.


  • Consult your rabbi before implementing anything you read here.

  • Consult your rabbi regarding whether your alternative beverage of choice counts as chamar medina.

  • It's probably not a good idea to rely on this alternative when deciding how much wine to provide for the Seder and how much of it to drink in the early stages thereof.

  • Related: Comments on this answer.
    – Fred
    Mar 19, 2015 at 23:06
  • 1
    Why aren't you working out of OC 483?
    – Double AA
    Mar 20, 2015 at 3:28
  • @DoubleAA Good point. No reason other than basic incompetence. Sooner or later, someone or I will edit it in.
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 20, 2015 at 13:24

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