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Wine has played an important role in Jewish ceremony and culture throughout the ages. In biblical times the use of wine was obligatory both in public religious functions and for domestic ceremonial occasions. The references to wine as a means of promoting joy, as a sign of the bountiful gifts of providence, and as a token of personal gratitude to the creator are numerous throughout the Bible.

How highly wine is regarded in the Bible may be seen from the fact that in a figurative sense Israel is called a vine. Later the rabbis used wine as a metaphor not only to represent Israel but also the Torah, the Messiah, and holy men. In the Talmud it is stated that in the world to come the righteous will drink wine from the grapes grown during the days of creation. The greatest blessing in the conception of the Hebrew people, the blessing of peace, is represented by the picture of a man resting under his vine and fig tree. Abundance of wine is in the Bible an indication of prosperity, and to offer bread and wine to a guest is a sign of friendship and hospitality.

The rabbis held that taken in moderation wine is not only a healthful stimulant but is possessed of great curative properties, the best of all medicines. However, drunkeness was strictly forbidden. It was the custom in Talmudic times to give ten cups of wine to mourners with the "meal of consolation".

The use of wine has been continued at religious functions in the synagogue and in the Jewish home on all festive occasions to this very day.

OCR Text

Wine has played an important role in Jewish ceremony and culture throughout the ages. In biblical times the use of wine was obligatory both in public religious functions and for domestic ceremonial occasions. The references to wine as a means of promoting joy, as a sign of the bountiful gifts of providence, and as a token of personal gratitude to the creator are numerous throughout the Bible.

How highly wine is regarded in the Bible may be seen from the fact that in a figurative sense Israel is called a vine. Later the rabbis used wine as a metaphor not only to represent Israel but also the Torah, the Messiah, and holy men. In the Talmud it is stated that in the world to come the righteous will drink wine from the grapes grown during the days of creation. The greatest blessing in the conception of the Hebrew people, the blessing of peace, is represented by the picture of a man resting under his vine and fig tree. Abundance of wine is in the Bible an indication of prosperity, and to offer bread and wine to a guest is a sign of friendship and hospitality.

The rabbis held that taken in moderation wine is not only a healthful stimulant but is possessed of great curative properties, the best of all medicines. However, drunkeness was strictly forbidden. It was the custom in Talmudic times to give ten cups of wine to mourners with the "meal of consolation".

The use of wine has been continued at religious functions in the synagogue and in the Jewish home on all festive occasions to this very day.

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