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—Biblical Data:

The juice of the grape is the subject of special praise in the Scriptures. The "vine tree" is distinguished from the other trees in the forest (Ezek. xv. 2). The fig-tree is next in rank to the vine (Deut. viii. 8), though as food the fig is of greater importance (comp. Num. xx. 5) than the "wine which cheereth God and man" (Judges ix. 13; comp. Ps. civ. 15; Eccl. x. 19). Wine is a good stimulant for "such as be faint in the wilderness" (II Sam. xvi. 2), and for "those that be of heavy hearts" (Prov. xxxi. 6).

The goodness of wine is reflected in the figure in which Israel is likened to a vine brought from Egypt and planted in the Holy Land, where it took deep root, spread out, and prospered (Ps. lxxx. 9-11). The blessed wife is like "a fruitful vine by the sides of thy house" (Ps. cxxviii. 3). When peace reigns every man rests "under his vine and under his fig-tree" (I Kings v. 5 [A. V. iv. 25]). An abundance of wine indicates prosperity. Jacob blessed Judah that "he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes" (Gen. xlix. 11).

Bread as an indispensable food and wine as a luxury represent two extremes; they were used as signs of welcome and good-will to Abraham (Gen. xiv. 18). A libation of wine was part of the ceremonial sacrifices, varying in quantity from one-half to one-fourth of a hin measure (Num. xxviii. 14).

Wine-drinking was generally accompanied by singing (Isa. xxiv. 9). A regular wine-room ("bet ha-yayin") was used (Cant. ii. 4), and wine-cellars ("oẓerot yayin"; I Chron. xxvii. 27) are mentioned. The wine was bottled in vessels termed "nebel" and "nod" (I Sam. i. 24, xvi. 20), made in various shapes from the skins of goats and sheep, and was sold in bath measures. The wine was drunk from a "mizraḳ," or "gabia'" (bowl; Jer. xxxv. 5), or a "kos" (cup). The wine-press was called "gat" and "purah"; while the "yeḳeb" was probably the vat into which the wine flowed from the press. The "vine of Sodom" (Deut. xxxii. 32), which probably grew by the Dead Sea, was the poorest kind. The "vine of the fields" (II Kings iv. 39) was a wild, uncultivated sort, and the "soreḳ" (Isa. v. 2) was the choicest vine, producing dark-colored grapes; in Arabic it is called "suriḳ."

There were different kinds of wine. "Yayin" was the ordinary matured, fermented wine, "tirosh" was a new wine, and "shekar" was an old, powerful wine ("strong drink"). The red wine was the better and stronger (Ps. lxxv. 9 [A. V. 8]; Prov. xxiii. 31). Perhaps the wine of Helbon (Ezek. xxvii. 18) and the wine of Lebanon (Hos. xiv. 7) were white wines. The vines of Hebron were noted for their large clustersof grapes (Num. xiii. 23). Samaria was the center of vineyards (Jer. xxxi. 5; Micah i. 6), and the Ephraimites were heavy wine-drinkers (Isa. xxviii. 1). There were also "yayin ha-reḳaḥ" (spiced wine; Cant. viii. 2), "ashishah" (hardened sirup of grapes), "shemarim (wine-dregs), and "ḥomeẓ yayin" (vinegar). Some wines were mixed with poisonous substances ("yayin tar'elah"; Ps. lx. 5; comp. lxxv.9, "mesek" [mixture]). The "wine of the condemned" ("yen 'anushim") is wine paid as a forfeit (Amos ii. 8), and "wine of violence" (Prov. iv. 17) is wine obtained by illegal means.

E. G. H. J. D. E.—In Rabbinical Literature:

Wine is called "yayin" because it brings lamentation and wailing ("yelalah" and "wai") into the world, and "tirosh" because one that drinks it habitually is certain to become poor (). R. Kahana said the latter term is written sometimes , and sometimes ; that means, if drunk in moderation it gives leadership ( = "head"); if drunk in excess it leads to poverty (Yoma 76b). "Tirosh" includes all kinds of sweet juices and must, and does not include fermented wine (Tosef., Ned. iv. 3). "Yayin" is to be distinguished from "shekar"; the former is diluted with water ("mazug"); the latter is undiluted ("yayin ḥai"; Num. R. x. 8; comp. Sifre, Num. 23). In Talmudic usage "shekar" means "mead," or "beer," and according to R. Papa, it denotes drinking to satiety and intoxication (Suk. 49b).

In metaphorical usage, wine represents the essence of goodness. The Torah, Jerusalem, Israel, the Messiah, the righteous—all are compared to wine. The wicked are likened unto vinegar, and the good man who turns to wickedness is compared to sour wine. Eleazar b. Simeon was called "Vinegar, the son of Wine" (B. M. 83b). The wine which is kept for the righteous in the world to come has been preserved in the grape ever since the six days of creation (Ber. 34b).

Presses and Receptacles.

The process of making wine began with gathering the grapes into a vat ("gat"). There were vats hewn out of stone, cemented or potter-made vats, and wooden vats ("Ab. Zarah v. 11). Next to the vat was a cistern ("bor"), into which the juice ran through a connecting trough or pipe ("ẓinnor"). Two vats were sometimes connected with one cistern (B. Ḳ. ii. 2). The building containing or adjoining the wine-presses was called "bet ha-gat" (Tosef., Ter. iii. 7). The newly pressed wine was strained through a filter, sometimes in the shape of a funnel ("meshammeret"; Yer. Ter. viii. 3), or through a linen cloth ("sudar"), in order to remove husks, stalks, etc. A wooden roller or beam, fixed into a socket in the wall, was lowered to press the grapes down into the vat (Shab. i. 9; Ṭoh. x. 8).

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