How can a nozir fulfill the mitzvah of drinking four cups of wine at the passover seder?

p.s. It is not a riddle. My son asked me this question, and I don't know what to answer him.


5 Answers 5


If he can indeed drink wine for this purpose (as per the sources cited in WAF's answer and the comments there), then that's that.

Otherwise, though: there are opinions that even for the Four Cups one can use chamar medinah (a beverage used as the national drink of importance, e.g., beer or mead) - Rema to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 483:1. Now, a nazir is permitted to drink those; he's prohibited only to consume grape products. So he might be able to use chamar medinah for his Four Cups.

  • אין דנין אפשר משאי אפשר. See T'shuvos Rashba vol.1, 238.
    – jake
    Jun 7, 2011 at 0:20
  • 1
    I've heard mead is recommended.
    – Shalom
    Jun 7, 2011 at 1:16
  • @jake: but here it's not a matter of personal preference (מפני ששונאו או שמזיקו) where he can somehow manage to do it; it's (presumably) an issur on him.
    – Alex
    Jun 7, 2011 at 4:47
  • Yes, but his point is that even though one may technically be yotzei with matza instead of wine, that is only where wine is not available. It does not necessarily mean that one who has wine but prefers not to drink it may also do so. The same may apply to one who has wine but may not drink it.
    – jake
    Jun 7, 2011 at 5:20
  • @jake - Wouldn't that imply that one may not drink anything other than wine for Kiddush/Havdalah, even if one is a recovering alcoholic or it's the Nine Days?
    – Seth J
    Aug 31, 2011 at 17:39

Interesting question!

This article, on a site which I've never heard of before today, lists many of the standard sources and their silence on this question, and adds that it is equally askable regarding kidush on shabas. It then concludes with a suggestion (in the name of a chain of Rebbes from Lubavitch) that since mitzvos lav lehanos nitnu - the commandments were not given for derivation of pleasure - the wine that a nazir drinks to fulfill his obligation on the night of Pesach is not included in the prohibition against his [pleasurable] drinking of grape products.

  • 2
    I'm not sure it's the same for Shabbat; you can make kiddush on non-wine if necessary, but Pesach specifically calls for wine. Jun 6, 2011 at 18:53
  • 1
    Plus, wouldn't that assume he only drinks the absolute minimum Shiur required to be yotzei?
    – yydl
    Jun 6, 2011 at 19:00
  • 2
    @WAF, the same author (R. Yehudah Leib Groner, one of the Rebbe zt"l's secretaries) revisits this in the next issue of the journal, and brings various sources that seem to indicate that a nazir indeed may not drink wine for the Arba Kosos.
    – Alex
    Jun 6, 2011 at 21:55
  • @MonicaCellio Using substances other than wine is the exception to the rule stated by the g'mara to mention shabas using wine. Thus, the original question "how can a nozir fulfil..." could have equally been asked, as pointed out by that article, about kidush, to which the answer could have been "by substituting other foods", but on which the major sources would still have been surprisingly silent.
    – WAF
    Jun 6, 2011 at 22:00
  • 2
    @WAF, That which Rambam brings that a nazir may not make kiddush nor havdala on wine is a gemara (Nazir 3b). I don't believe anyone argues.
    – jake
    Jun 7, 2011 at 0:37

It is a 'מחלוקת ריב''ן ותוס in .נזיר ד. Rivan says that being that person is already חייב in קידוש before he accepts נזירות, he still has to make קידוש. Tos' say that the part of קידוש that is on wine is דרבנן, and therefore he would not make קידוש.

If the 4 cups are דאורייתא, it has the same מחלוקת as the above. If it is דרבנן, all would agree that a נזיר would not drink.

  • והרי מושבע ועומד ב) עליו מהר סיני הוא. דכתיב זכור את יום השבת לקדשו זוכרהו על היין אין לי אלא בכניסתו ביציאתו מנין ת"ל כו' (פסחים דף קו) וקי"ל דנשבע לבטל את המצוה פטור דלא אתיא שבועה ומבטלה מצוה וא"ת הא תנן (נדרים דף טז. שבועות דף כה.) חומר בנדרים מבשבועות שכן הנדר חל על דבר מצוה כדבר הרשות דאיש כי ידור נדר לה' כתיב אפילו במידי דלה' ג) נמי לא קשיא דהא לא הוי אלא כגון דאמר ישיבת סוכה עלי דאוסר אותה עליו ואין מאכילין את האדם דבר האסור לו אבל אם אמר קונם שלא אשב בסוכה אין בדבריו כלום והכי מסקינן לה בנדרים בפרק ואלו מותרין (דף טז:):
    – moses
    Mar 24, 2013 at 18:41
  • that was the rivan
    – moses
    Mar 24, 2013 at 18:42
  • קדוש היום דאורייתא ואיך תחול עליו נזירות וקשה דאדרבה להכי איצטריך קרא מיותר לומר דחייל עליה נזירות ועוד קשה מאי משני בתר הכי כגון שנשבע לשתות וחזר ונדר בנזיר דאתיא נזירות וחייל אשבועה מ"מ תקשי לו הרי מושבע ועומד מהר סיני כלומר דאין מושבע ועומד גדול מזה שנשבע לשתות ועוד קשה דקדוש היום לאו דאורייתא הוא דנהי נמי דכתיב זכור ודרשינן זוכרהו על היין אסמכתא הוא לכ"נ לר"ת דגרסינן בתמיה וכי מושבע ועומד מהר סיני כלומר ל"ל קרא מיותר לאסור יין מצוה וכי מושבע וכו' דנהי דקידוש היום דאורייתא על היין לאו דאורייתא ב] דזוכרהו על היין אסמכתא והשתא משני כגון שנשבע לשתות וקמ"ל קרא יתירא דחייל עליה אע"ג שנשבע לשתות
    – moses
    Mar 24, 2013 at 18:42
  • that was tosafos
    – moses
    Mar 24, 2013 at 18:43
  • @WAF why the rollback?
    – msh210
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:58

Yerushalmi Nazir 6:5 quotes the opinion of R' Yossi HaGelili that a Nazir may not drink Ma'aser Sheini wine. He derives this from Bamidbar 6:3, which says both "wine" and "strong drink," which he finds repetitious (as wine is a strong drink). He therefore learns that the repetition is "to make wine for a Mitzvah like optional wine." So, no, a Nazir would not be able to have four cups of wine. He would be able to have four cups of a chamar medinah, though, as Alex noted.


The question, as asked, is simple to answer: Passover is a command (Le 23:5-8) while a Nazir's vow, was a mere personal vow. No Israelite had the authority to make a vow that supplants a command. The better question is, was Samson required to abstain from all wine, including Passover wine? It seems the answer, in this case, would be that Samson had to abstain, since he received a direct command with a specific commission (Jg 13:3-5).

  • But the four cups aren't a biblical obligation!
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 21, 2017 at 13:36
  • This seems incorrect. He should find someone to be motzi him or use chamar Medina as shown by the Rambam (for example) and the other answers. Nov 21, 2017 at 13:38
  • "No Israelite had the authority to make a vow that supplants a command" - that's also not true
    – Heshy
    Nov 21, 2017 at 14:02

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