Making Kiddush [or Havdalah] on white wine


Making Kiddush on white wine:[1]

A. Kiddush of Shabbos and Yom Tov, and Havdalah [excluding four cups by Seder]:[2]

It is permitted to recite Kiddush [or Havdalah[3]] over white wine [even by the night Kiddush of Shabbos and Yom Tov, and certainly during the day]. [This applies even if the wine is not of good quality.[4]] Nonetheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to recite Kiddush on the greatest quality wine one has available.[5] [This means that at a store one should purchase the wine that he likes and enjoys most, even if it is not the most expensive. Likewise, at home he choose the choicest of his wines if he has a variety of wines available.[6]] Thus, if the red wine is of greater quality [or tastier] than the white wine, one is to recite Kiddush on the red wine, and if the white wine is of greater quality [or tastier] than the red wine one recites Kiddush over the white wine.[7] If the two wines are of equal quality [and taste], one may choose whichever wine he desires, red or white.[8] [Nonetheless, Sephardim, and also some Ashkenazim, are accustomed to never use white wine for the nighttime Kiddush, unless there is no red wine available, or the red wine is of poor quality.[9] However, per the rulings of Admur, white wine may always be used so long as it is not of lesser quality than the red wine, as stated above.]



White wine is valid for Kiddush of both night and day, and for Havdala. However, initially, one is to use the best quality wine, whether red or white. If one has red and white wine of equal quality, then one may use whatever color wine he wants. [However, some are particular to never initially use white wine for the nighttime Kiddush.]



Is rose colored wine considered red or white?[10]

Rose colored wine is considered red wine, and the same applies for any wine with a reddish tint, and hence even those who are stringent against using white wine may use it.


Mixing red wine into the white wine:

Some are accustomed to mix red wine into the white, due to their stringency against making Kiddush on white wine.[11]

May one mix red wine with white wine on Shabbos or Yom Tov?[12] This matter is subject to a dispute in Poskim. Some Poskim[13] rule it is permitted to do so on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and there is no worry of the dyeing prohibition.[14] Other Poskim[15], however, rule it is forbidden to do so due to the dyeing prohibition. Practically, it is permitted to do so[16], although it is best to pour the red wine in first and then pour in the white wine.[17]  


May one say Kiddush over white wine during the 7th hour of Friday night?

Those who are careful to avoid Kiddush during the 7th hour, avoid doing so with all forms of wine, irrelevant of color.[18]


The difference between red and white wine according to Kabbalah:[19]

In general, the difference between red wine, and white wine, is that red wine is Yayin Hamishaker, which is wine that causes drunkenness in the drinker. However, white wine is Yayin Misameiach, which causes joy and happiness in the drinker. The soul of the Jewish people is an exact replica of the grape from which wine is produced. Every Jewish soul contains a hidden love for G-d. There are two types of love that can be revealed. One is a joyful love for G-d, similar to the experience of white wine, the Yayin Misameiach. Another is a bittersweet, motivated love that is filled with passion and longing on reflection of one’s spiritual defects and shortcomings.


Chart of Opinions

Invalid for Friday night Implication of Bava Basar 97a; Ramban; Ran
Valid Bedieved [no good red wine] but not Lechatchila Yerushalmi; Ritva; Mishneh Berurah; Kaf Hachaim
Valid even Lechatchila [so long as red wine is not of better quality] Implication of Rashbam, Rosh, Rif, Rambam, and Michaber; Admur


B. The four cups on the night of the Seder:

Coming up in part 2!


[1] See Admur 272:5 and 472:26; Beis Yosef 272; Regarding the health difference between red versus white wine-see Admur 175 and Seder 12:13

[2] Admur 272:5; 472:26; 1st and Stam opinion in Michaber 272:4 and that so is custom of the world; Implication of Michaber 472:11; Rama 472:11; Tur 272:3 “Boreik-very white wine”; Rashbam Bava Basra 97b in his interpretation of Gemara; Implication of Rebbe Yermiyah in Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1 and Shekalim 3:2 regarding Bedieved [As learns Ritva Bava Basra 97b and Beis Yosef 272:4 in first approach, however, see Ran Pesachim 22b who learns differently]; Implication of Rif, Rosh, and Rambam who all omit the teaching in Bava Basra 97a that white wine is invalid [See Beis Yosef ibid]; Rashbatz 1:85; Taz 472:9; M”A 472:13; Ketzos Hashulchan 80:1 footnote 1; See Opinions in Beis Yosef 272 and 472

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that white wine is invalid for Kiddush as the verse [Mishleiy 23:31] states “Al Teira Yayin Ki Yisadem/Don’t see wine that is red” which implies that the importance of wine applies specifically when it is red. [2nd opinion in Michaber 272:4 in name of Ramban; Implication of answer of Rava to Rav Kahana in Bava Basra 97a; Ramban Bava Basra 97a; Ran Pesachim 22b based on Bava Basra ibid and Yerushalmi ibid; Tosafus Bava Basra ibid; Pesach Meubin that so was custom; See this opinion in Admur 472:26; Taz 472:9; Levush 472; Rebbe Yermiyah in Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1 and Shekalim 3:2] This, however, only refers to very white wine. [Tosafus ibid; Beis Yosef 272:4 in explanation of why Talmud permits Borak wine and the reason is because it is slightly red; Elya Raba 272:8; P”M 472 A”A 13; Kaf Hachaim 272:26 and 28; Ketzos Hashulchan 80 footnote 1] According to this opinion, white wine which has no red tinge is always invalid for the night Kiddush and the four cups, as it is not considered wine at all. [Rashbatz Mamar Chametz p. 34 based on Ramban; Erech Hashulchan 472:3; Kaf Hachaim 472:79; Rav Yaakov Yosef] However, it is even initially valid for Havdalah [Michaber ibid; Poskim ibid] and the day Kiddush. [Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 272; M”B 272:11; Kaf Hachaim 272:27] Based on all this, some Poskim rule one is to never use white wine for the night Kiddush [or for the four cups] unless there is no red wine available. [Elya Raba 272:8 regarding very white wine; M”B 272:10 and 12; Kaf Hachaim 472:28 based on conclusion of Ran ibid] or the red wine is not of good quality. [M”B 272:10; Shaar Hatziyon 272:20]

The lenient opinions interpretation of the Gemara: There are several ways in how the lenient opinions above interpret the Gemara Bava Basra ibid which invalidates white wine: 1) The Gemara is referring to Nesachim and not Kiddush. [Rashbam Bava Basra 97b in his interpretation of Gemara; Tosefes Shabbos 272:6, brought in Kaf Hachaim 272:24 that so is the implication of all Rishonim who omit it; See Ran ibid and Admur 272:9 for a similar dispute regarding Mevushal wine] 2) The Gemara in Bava Basra is arguing on the Yerushalmi, and we rule like the Yerushalmi. 3) The Gemara refers to Lechatchila, and not Bedieved. [See Ritva ibid] 4) The Gemara refers to only very white wine that is of very poor quality. [Rashbatz ibid, brought in Beis Yosef ibid; Elya Raba 272:8; P”M 472 A”A 13; Piskeiy Teshuvos 272:7]

[3] Michaber 272:4 according to all opinions

[4] Tur 272; Kaf Hachaim 272:25

[5] Admur 272:5 regarding Kiddush “It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to choose the best wine to make Kiddush on.”; Michaber 272:3; Tur 272:4; See Admur 472:17 that the wine should be sweet and tasty to one’s palate, which is a form of freedom; Rambam 7:9

[6] Ketzos Hashulchan 80:1 footnote 1

[7] Implication of Admur 472:26 and Rama 472:11; Levush 472; Tur 472

[8] Admur 472:26; Ketzos Hashulchan 80:1 footnote 1; See Tosefes Shabbos 272:6, brought in Kaf Hachaim 272:24, that according to the Rambam and other Rishonim who omit the ruling of Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, white wine is even initially permitted; Piskeiy Teshuvos 272:7

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is to initially always use red colored wine rather than white wine, unless the red wine is of bad quality. [M”B 272:10 and 12 based on Yerushalmi ibid as explained in Beis Yosef 272; See also Kaf Hachaim 472:28]

[9] This follows the conclusion of the M”B 272:10 and 12 and Kaf Hachaim 472:28 as brought above in the other opinions, and so is the Sepahrdi custom as brought in Pesach Meubin and related by Harav Yaakov Yosef Z”l

[10] See Beis Yosef 272:4 in explanation of why Tlamud permits Borak wine and the reason is because it is slightly red; Kaf Hachaim 272:26-27; Ketzos Hashulchan 80 footnote 1

[11] See Yabia Omer 2:20; 6:48; Piskeiy Teshuvos 272:7; See Taz 472:9 that redness is an advantageous color in the wine

[12] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 320 footnote 276 and 472:10

[13] P”M 320 A”A 25 [brought in M”B 320:56]; Aruch Hashulchan 320:7; Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 16-11 [however see footnote 15-1]; Chasam Sofer Shabbos 75; Or Letziyon 1:29; Yechaveh Daas 6:23; Tzitz Eliezer 14:47

[14] The reason: As there is no dyeing prohibition by foods at all, even if one does so for the purpose of the dye. [ibid]

[15] Ben Ish Chaiy Pekudei 2:3; Nishmas Adam brought in M”B ibid; Kitzur SHU”A 80:42; Kaf Hachaim 320:116; Beir Moseh 8:23-15; Mishnas Yosef 7:77; Bris Olam Tzoveia 12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 320:24; See Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 17 who learns this opinion from Sheilas Yaavetz 1:42; Peri Megadim 318; Shoel Umeishiv 2:7; SSH”K 11 footnote 158

[16] Shevet Halevi 10:56

[17] Shabbos Kehalacha 20:10

[18] The reason: There is no source to limit the prohibition to red wine and not white wine. On the contrary, the fact that no Posek makes any differentiation is a clear ruling that in truth the wine color makes no difference, and so is the custom. Rav Leibal Groner related to me that “The Rebbe said that we do not make kiddush at that time no difference what color wine.”; Rav Eli Landa Shlita relates that there is no source or reason for allowing white wine and those who do so are performing “Purim Torah”; Nonetheless, the ruling of Rav Levi Bistritzky Z”al of the Tzvas community was to permit white wine.

[19] Torah Or p. 92 Parshas Vayechi Mamar “Osri Lagefen…”; See “The Chassidishe Parsha-Torah Or Likkutei Torah” Parshas Vayechi

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.