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By April 16, 2019 Read More →

Can you drink grape juice instead of wine for Seder?

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I heard that 2/3rd of Israelis drink grape juice at the Seder.

Is there a problem with drinking grape juice for the 4 cups at the Seder according to Jewish Law?

Well, the answer isn’t so simple.

Ideally one should drink wine for all 4 cups, as the Rashbam says that drinking wine is associated with, ‘simcha’, happiness, and on Seder night we are supposed to feel a sense of happiness.

However, the Gemarah says that if one cannot drink wine, one should at least drink for the first cup a mixture of wine and grape juice and the others, can be pure grape juice.

The Gemarah in Baba Batra says that if one cannot drink wine, it’s permitted to drink grape juice for Kiddush too.

Indeed sensitivity to drinking wine has precedent in the Gemarah – The Gemarah tells the story of one Rabbi whose head was spinning from Pesach to Shavuot as a result of drinking 4 cups of wine at the Seder.

Rav Moshe Feinstein says that there is no problem in drinking grape juice for all 4 cups, if you can’t drink wine.

The main point of the Seder is to discuss, ‘Pesach, Matzah and Maror’. If you are drunk or asleep as a result of drinking wine, then that defeats the whole purpose of the Seder!

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