There is a responsum of the Rambam that brings down the following custom that was done by the great sages, and done by himself personally.


שאלה בדבר השתייה על מיני זמר וכו‘. ושתיית היין שדורכים הישמעאלים. יורינו רבינו ושכרו כפול מן השמים. התשובה ידוע, שעצם הזמר והניגונים כולם אסורים וכו‘. ואלה הישמעאלים אינם רחוקים מעבודה זרה כמו שהזכרתם יותר מקטן בן יומו, שאמר רב שהוא מנסך, והלכה כמותו ותכלית מה שהקלו כל הגאונים ביינם של אלו, )שיהיה( מותר בהנייה, ותו לא, אבל )שיהא מותר( בשתייה, לא נשמע זה משום בעל הוראה. והלכה למעשה בפני כל גאוני מערב, כאשר קורה, שנוגע ישמעאלי ביין שלנו נגיעה המחייבת ניסוך, שאוסרים לשתותו ומתירים למוכרו כדין יין הישמעאלים עצמן. וכאשר קורה, שנכנס גוי או ישמעאלי אצל אנשים בשעה שהם שותים, הם ממהרים לערב קצת דבש ביין אשר לפניהם ושותים עמו, ואמרו: כבר נפסל לגבי המזבח והיה בכלל מיני השכר, והעיקר )אצלנו שאין( מנסכין לעבודה זרה אלא יין הראוי ליקרב על גבי המזבח. כך הורה רבינו יוסף הלוי זצ“ו לברכה, וכך עשה כמה פעמים הלכה למעשה, הוא וכל גדולי ספרד וכו‘

Question about drinking over song etc. and drinking wine crushed by Muslims, guide us out rabbi and your reward will be doubled from heaven. The answer is known, that music and song are all forbidden etc. and these Muslims are not far off from Avodah Zarah as you mention any more than a child of one day old that Rav (Avodah Zarah 57a) prohibits the wine he pours, and the Halachah is in accordance with him. And the leniency of the Geonim about the wine of these [Muslims], is only that it should be permitted to benefit from it, and not more, but to say that it should be permissible to drink, this was not heard from any teacher. And the custom in practice before all the Geonim of the West [i.e., North Africa and Spain], that when it happens that a Muslim touches our wine in a way that prohibits it, we prohibit to drink it and permit selling it, as is the rule is with all Muslim wine. And when it happens that a Christian or Muslim enters when people are in the middle of drinking, the quickly mix in some honey into the wine that is before them and drink with them. The [sages] said: [by adding honey] it becomes invalid for pouring on the Mizbe’ach and become like all types of beer. And the main thing is that (here, where they don’t) pour wine for Avodah Zarah, unless it is wine that is suited to be brought on the Mizbe’ach. This is what Rabbi Yosef Halevi of righteous and holy memory taught and this is what he practiced himself on many occasions, him and all the great sages of Spain.

Source: http://www.torahonthego.org/curriculum/TLP_11-2_Ramabm_1_old.pdf

In what ways can this be applied? Can it be interpreted that anything, including what was Yayin Nesach no longer is Yayin Nesach because it becomes beer? Or does it mean if you have strictly kosher (non mevushal) wine you can add honey to it and it becomes beer and therefore you can all drink together?


1 Answer 1


You cannot undo Yayin Nesech. Once it's forbidden it remains so.

That would mean that you have to add the honey before the non-Jew touches the wine, in order to prevent it from becoming Yayin Nesech.

See for example, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in סימן מז - הלכות סתם יינם that (strong) vinegar cannot become Yayin Nesech, however, making vinegar from Yayin Nesech retains the Yayin Nesech status.

חֹמֶץ יַיִן שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה מִיַּיִן כָּשֵׁר, אִם הוּא חָזָק כָּל כָּךְ שֶׁמְּבַעְבֵּעַ כְּשֶׁשּׁוֹפְכִין אוֹתוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ, שׁוּב אֵינוֹ נֶאֱסָר בְּמַגַּע עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים. אֲבָל אִם נַעֲשָׂה מִסְּתָם יֵינָם, לְעוֹלָם הוּא בְּאִסּוּרוֹ. ‏

The Rambam concurs in הלכות מאכלות אסורות - פרק אחד עשר

י"ג: הַחֹמֶץ שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם אָסוּר בַּהֲנָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה יֵין נֶסֶךְ קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּחְמִיץ ‏

That said, utensils used to make Yayin Nesech can be kashered, as both the Kitzur and the Rambam mention, a few Halachot later.

  • i see your logic, however, but isn't vinegar still related to wine in some way? As opposed to this case where the Rambam says it becomes like beer, which cannot be yayin nesech?
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 15:50
  • @Aaron, adding honey to wine doesn't make it into beer. Try it! He means that it gets the same Halachic-status as beer; beer cannot become Yayin Nesech as it's not made from grapes. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 8:23
  • i understand that it takes on the halakhic status of beer, and doesn't actually become beer. But since the halakhic status of beer cannot be Yayin Nesech, it leads to the question then can one add honey to wine that was yayin nesech and be able to drink it since something with the halakhic status of beer cannot be yayin nesech
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 16:36
  • See the end of the Kitzur and the Rambam I quotes: Once yayin-Nesech, always Yayin Nesech. אִם נַעֲשָׂה מִסְּתָם יֵינָם, לְעוֹלָם הוּא בְּאִסּוּרוֹ. (Both vinegar [from wine] and beer [from wine] cannot become Yayin Nesech.) Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 7:35

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