Delicious, or: Unkosher

Sevenling (I drank)

A d’Verse quadrille

I drank an expensive bottle of red 
wine from Moldova. It was subtle; smooth;
unkosher.

Kosher wines must be produced exclusively 
by Sabbath-observant Jews; open bottles are rendered 
unkosher if even touched by gentiles; this feels to me like racism.

Such delicious wine.

d’Verse

The above sevenling is my take on d’Verse’s Quadrille challenge #125.

The quadrille is simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This week’s challenge was to use the word “wine” in a quadrille.


An elucidation

An enactment was put in place in Talmudic times to prevent Jews from consuming wine that had been used for idolatrous purposes. The religious prohibition was extended, such that even if a Jew knows that a particular gentile is not going to engage in idolatry, it is still prohibited to drink wine that was touched by them.

75 thoughts on “Delicious, or: Unkosher”

    1. Yep, Deb, foods certified as kosher have symbols on the labels. And in countries where that is not the case, local rabbis produce lists of kosher food products for their communities so that people know what they can and cannot eat.


      David

  1. I like this one. The break between “this feels to me like racism.” and “Such delicious wine.” – there is so much in that pause.

    Honestly, the kosher/unkosher wine bugs me for the same reason. I’m not a big enough wine drinker to be bothered by the practical observance, but the reason behind it bothers me.

  2. Shalom friend. If I may make a comment. From one Yid to another. For what it’s worth, although I do not recall the source, I learned of one reason for this custom. An opened bottle of wine that was handled by a gentile could have been poisoned. Of course, this must be going back at least several hundred years ago, perhaps, in Europe. So, if it was a reasonable precaution, based on an actual risk; then, at that time, it was a means to counter a potential anti-semitic act that could have a devastating consequence. Shalom, Tzvi

    1. Tzvi Feivel, that is so interesting. I had never heard that before. I agree 100% that this ruling was justified when it was issued. As for its modern relevance? Not so much.


      David

  3. An interesting observation David. The past stays around for generations along with culture and traditions. Sounds like you had a really good bottle!

    1. It was, indeed, a good bottle, Dwight. 🍷 No regrets, although it did feel strange to be knowingly drinking unkosher wine… I hadn’t done that for decades.


      David

  4. The forbidden fruit, as it were!

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I would also say that everyone has a right to both share and preserve their culture as they see fit — and this is part of the purpose of dietary laws. As a gentile, no offense taken if my handling your wine makes it un-kosher. 🙂

    1. Aaron, thanks so much for sharing your perspective.

      I would also say that everyone has a right to both share and preserve their culture as they see fit

      Yes, I agree with this, but conservative traditions often tend to cling to ways that are irrelevant in the modern world and arguably unnecessary for preserving their respective cultures. That’s just my perspective. Some people would say I’m being heretical.


      David

      1. ‘Culture’ can be quite an elastic concept however. Different cultures might set different boundaries defining what counts as ‘culture’ and what falls outside it. Some cultures for example might insist that ‘culture’ can include assumed gender roles, say, or the rights parents regard themselves as having over their children. There are times when the phrase ‘In our culture…’ makes the hairs on the back of my neck stick up.

  5. Hearing me chortle from my corner, my wife had to ask, “What are you reading over there?”
    “The latest from David.”
    She knows, of course, of whom I speak. I have spoken of you often enough. I recited it for her. She pauses a moment, considers.
    “That is racism, isn’t it?”
    “Hmm,” I agree.
    “Then again,” she said, “it’s reverse racism.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Well, someone who wanted to do a Jewish family ill might just walk up to their table and pick up their open bottle of kosher wine.”
    “Oh?”
    “And just ruin it.”
    And so does David, in abstentia, become one of our family, evoking discussions of racism and fine wine.

    1. Yes, it had a purpose. Personally, I feel that the purpose for this particular religious prohibition has lost its relevance today.

      That said, I didn’t go out of my way to find a non-kosher wine – it was a bottle that had been gifted to us.


      David

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