- Question: [Sunday, 3rd Kisleiv, 5783]
In response to your recent article on the subject of avoiding drinking wine that was seen by Gentile, does this apply even to wine that is inside a kiddush cup? As it was witnessed by the Rebbe by Kos Shel Bracha that he poured wine for individuals from the kiddush cup, to which the wine was visible to people in the line.
The issue of a Gentile seeing non-Mevushal wine of a Jew applies especially towards wine of Kos Shel Bracha, and likewise applies towards the wine that is in the cup. Hence, it does not suffice to simply cover the bottle of wine on the table, and one is also only to pour it and drink it when there are no Gentiles in the area who will look at it. Alternatively, when there are Gentiles in the area one is to make sure to use Mevushal wine.
Explanation: It is clear from the sources which negate wine that was seen by Gentile that it applies also and especially to wine that is found in a kiddush cup, and there is no room or logic different differentiate. Now, regarding the Rebbe’s Kos Shel Bracha, several explanations can be offered such as that the wine which was used was Mevushal, or Mefustar [pasteurized to a satisfying temperature]. Alternatively, the Gentiles were unable to see the wine in the Kiddush cup, and the bottle itself was always covered. [In truth however, this last claim can be negated being that there were times that a transparent glass pitcher was used to pour the wine into the Becher, and of course when the Rebbe would pour from the Becher, the wine being poured could be seen by all. Nonetheless, even if we were to accept that non-Mevushal wine was used, and was able to be seen by Gentiles, this should not be taken as a directive to the public absent of a direct instruction from the Rebbe, as perhaps there were unique circumstances which permitted it by the Rebbe, which only he can explain, which are not relevant to the general public, and on this the Talmud states that one should not follow even the saying of a Sage until he tells you that it is “halacha Lema’aseh” as we do not learn Halacha from a Ma’aseh until he tells you that it is Halacha Lema’aseh. Practically, all the venerate Chabad Rabbanim we consulted with agreed that we are very Makpid in this, including with the wine in the Kos.
Sources: See regarding the general adherence of not drinking from Kosher wine that a gentile looked at: Sefer Taamei Hamitzvos of Rav Menachem Habavli L.S. 360; Midrash Talpiyos Anaf Yayin p. 206; Mamar Yayin Hameshumar p. 18 of Rav Nasan Shapiro; Minchas Sotah p. 415 [custom of Titwan]; Shlah Hakadosh Shaar Haosiyos Kelal 94 Kedushas Hachila 106 p. 77; Yifei Laleiv 5 Y.D. 123:1; Ruach Chaim Falagi 131:2; Zivcheiy Tzedek 3:165; Ben Ish Chaiy Balak 16; Darkei Teshuvah 123:2; Dovev Meisharim 1:124; Kinyan Torah 6:64; See regarding especially Kos Shel Bracha: Makor Chaim Kitzur Halachos 183; Response of Rabbanim whom we addressed the above question to and replied that we are certainly careful in the above including regarding the wine that is in the cup of Kos Shel Bracha despite what we saw by the Rebbe by Kos Shel Bracha: Rav Eliyahu Landa; Rav Yochanon Gurary Shlita; Rav Groner a”h