It is a widespread minhag that during the mention of the makkos at the Seder one should either spill out wine or dip a finger into the cup and put it to the side.

I have heard that one should not drink this wine, or even the wine left on the fingers from dripping it on the plate. I'm told that just like the malachim were unable to sing shirah because it's rejoicing at others' downfall, we should not drink from the wine used to represent the Egyptians' downfall and gain benefit from it. Is this accurate, and if so, what is the source (i.e. sefer that discusses this)?

Artscroll's The Answer Is... Haggadah (page 148-149) quotes Rav Yechezkel Abramsky and Rav Eliyashiv as saying that this is why we spill it, and the Alter of Slabodka as saying that we should not be happy about human beings, created b'tzelem Elokim, being killed. It does not say. anything about drinking the wine, however.

Highly related: Is the wine spilled at the Seder "cursed"? This is not a duplicate, as that discusses actually discarding the wine, not refraining from drinking it.

  • so what is the prohibition?
    – kouty
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:04
  • @kouty Again, it's merely a symbolism thing, that just as the malachim weren't allowed to sing so as to be sensitive to the Egyptians' suffering, so, too, we shouldn't have pleasure from it. I don't know that it's a prohibition, per se, just an interesting minhag that I've heard (hence the minhag tag).
    – DonielF
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:05
  • interesting +1.
    – kouty
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:09
  • 1
    Many years ago a friend of mine observed that most of the time (in her experience, and also mine) people spill the drops onto a plate -- which is fine until later when people put charoset and stuff on that plate and end up eating the wine too, or at least being at risk of doing so. She thought that wasn't good symbolism and started the practice of discarding the drops into the bowl of salt water. She never mentioned any sources for any of this, though. Apr 6, 2017 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


The Chok Yaakov (473 s"k 37 - the small print on the left) gives 2 reasons to avoid drinking the spilled wine: Because the Makos were mentioned when they were spilled, and because it became נמעס upon contact with one's fingers.

However, the Hagadah Or Yesharim writes that the Gaon of Vilna would spill the wine into a vessel so it shouldn't go to waste.

Similarly, Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach would gather the spilled wine from the plates and pour it into one of the cups (Halichos Shlomo 9 footnote 242).

  • What does the Makkos being mentioned have to do with anything?
    – DonielF
    Apr 9, 2017 at 19:57
  • @DonielF I don't know. It's possible he's alluding to the reason you referred to in the question. His wording seems ambiguous and open to interpretation.
    – Jay
    Apr 9, 2017 at 20:47

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