use it for ceremonial occasions. We make a special blessing over it.
We savor it. The fruit of the vine, the nectar of the gods. Wine.
is replete with images of wine and its power. The Bible has a total of
141 references. The psalmist even declares that "yayin yisamach levav
enosh", that "wine gladdens the heart of man."
Talmud is actually the original source of the classic Jewish toast, "to
life" L'chayim (Megillah 16b). And Rabbi Eleazar asserts that aged wine
is one of the treasures of Egypt that Joseph sent to his father. There
is even a story in the tractate Avodah Zara about a rabbi who is cured
of an intestinal ailment by drinking 70-year-old apple wine. Where wine
is absent, medicine is necessary, declares the Talmud (BB 58b).
and myths surrounding the mystery of wine abound in Jewish lore and learning.
The Midarsh Rabbah of Genesis goes so far as to assert that Adam ate of
the vine - and not of that other fruit. The glories of wine and drink
are found in a variety of sources. During the Talmudic period the rabbis
actually suggest that wine is helpful in achieving profound thoughts and
Rav Huna concurs by asserting that wine helps open the heart to reasoning.
it is interesting to note that the Jews of the Land of Israel developed
an expertise in wine and there is much discussion of wine, its production
and its export. As for the Jews of Babylonia, however, they had more interest