The current series, which will cover Maariv on Friday night and Kiddush, is available for sponsorship. Please contact Rabbi Reingold for more information. We are continuing in siman 9, discussing the concept of chamer medina. The Shulchan Aruch, in siman 272:9, brings down an opinion that one cannot use chamer medina for kiddush. Then, he brings the opinion of the Rosh, who says that if one does not have wine, at night they should make kiddush on bread. During the day, we have a problem, for if they make “kiddush” on bread, there will be no indication that it is a special day. The kiddush of Shabbos day is just the bracha, so if they were to wash and begin their meal with hamotzi, it would look no different than a regular day. The reason we begin the Shabbos day meal with wine is because deliberately beginning the meal with hagafen demonstrates the chashivus of the meal. Therefore, he writes that if there is no wine available, it is preferable to use chamer medina, because it will also demonstrate the chashivus of the meal. The Mishnah Berurah adds that if a person enjoys a chamer medina more than wine, they can use it lechatchilla for kiddush on Shabbos day, assuming it is considered a chamer medina in that locale. Thus, for example, if a person prefers whisky over wine, they could make kiddush on the whisky. However, the Mishnah Berurah adds that the halacha of revi’is still applies. A kos shel bracha must hold at least a revi’is, and a person must drink melo lugmav of the revi’is. This will apply to a kos of chamar medina as well. If it is difficult for one person to drink the entire melo lugmav, it is a machlokes whether multiple people can join together to drink it. Therefore, lechatchilla it should not be done, but bedieved one is yotzei. Although the Mishnah Berurah holds one must use a kos shel bracha of a revi’is, even for chamer medina, there are people who do not do so. Their leniency is based on a Taz who suggests that if the method for drinking this drink is in smaller amounts, it becomes the appropriate amount for the kos. This is a chiddush, as there is no mention of a smaller shiur in the Gemara. Although the Gemara discusses chamer medina, it does not mention smaller shiurim. The Mishnah Berurah does not even mention this Taz, and only gives the suggestion of splitting up the revi’is. Nevertheless, many chassidim rely on the opinion of the Taz. The Mishnah Berurah writes that in order for a drink to be considered chamer medina, it must be considered chashuv. Arguably, in a place where people consider beer to be a degrading drink, it is not considered chashuv. Regarding sodas and juices, Rav Moshe is clear in a teshuva that they are not considered chamer medina. One of the parameters of chamer medina is that it is drunk when people are not thirsty, and just for social purposes. He points out that people who are not thirsty usually wont drink soda or juice, even in a social setting. Based on this criteria, coffee or tea are considered choshuv drinks. However, some poskim require chamer medina to be alcoholic. Summary
- Although there are opinions that chamer medina should never be used for kiddush, we pasken that one can use it for Shabbos day. However, one still needs a kos the size of a revi’is, and to drink melo lugmav.
- Chamer medina must be considered chashuv, and must be something drunk even when people are not thirsty. Coffee and tea are considered chamer medina, but sodas and juices are not.